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Tools for Innovation$
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Arthur Markman and Kristin Wood

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195381634

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381634.001.0001

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Supporting Innovative Construction of Explanatory Scientific Models

Supporting Innovative Construction of Explanatory Scientific Models

(p.216) Chapter 11 Supporting Innovative Construction of Explanatory Scientific Models
Tools for Innovation

Will Bridewell

Stuart R. Borrett

Pat Langley

Oxford University Press

Scientific modeling is a creative activity that can benefit from computational support. This chapter reports five challenges that arise in developing such aids, as illustrated by PROMETHEUS, a software environment that supports the construction and revision of explanatory models. These challenges include the paucity of relevant data, the need to incorporate prior knowledge, the importance of comprehensibility, an emphasis on explanation, and the practicality of user interaction. The responses to these challenges include the use of quantitative processes to encode models and background knowledge, as well as the combination of AND/OR search through a space of model structures with gradient descent to estimate parameters. This chapter reports our experiences with PROMETHEUS on three scientific modeling tasks and some lessons we have learned from those efforts. This chapter concludes by noting additional challenges that were not apparent at the outset of our work.

Keywords:   scientific models, knowledge discovery, interactive software, science informatics, model revision, software design, inductive process modeling

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