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Applied Intelligence 14, 7–8, 2001

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c 2001 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Manufactured in The Netherlands.

Introduction: Interactive Case-Based Reasoning

DAVID W. AHA
Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 5510,
4555 Overlook Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20375-5337, USA
aha@aic.nrl.navy.mil

HÉCTOR MUÑOZ-AVILA
Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland, College Park MD 20742-3255, USA
munoz@cs.umd.edu

Case-based reasoning (CBR) is an AI problem-solving For example, perhaps the most popular type of inter-
paradigm that stresses the reuse of stored cases, com- active CBR systems are what we refer to as conversa-
prising of hproblem,solutioni pairs, to solve new, simi- tional CBR (CCBR) systems, which can be character-
lar problems. Important technical issues related to this ized as interactive systems that, via a mixed-initiative
subject include representation, indexing, retrieval, revi- dialogue, guide users through a question-answering se-
sion, and retention. Currently, the most important inter- quence in a case retrieval context. Although Aha and
national CBR meetings include the international CBR Breslow [2] helped to popularize the phrase “CCBR”,
conferences and the European CBR Workshops, and their inspiration was from Inference Corporation, and
workshops have also been held in several countries other groups had been previously researching this topic
(e.g., the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, (e.g., [3]) or began studying it at approximately the
Italy). same time (e.g., [4]).
This special issue addresses interactive CBR re- Four papers in this special issue relate to CCBR.
search, which we define as an extension of the CBR We include ours first because it summarizes research
paradigm in which a user is actively involved with the on simple CCBR tools, focusing on contributions
inferencing process. Interest in interactive CBR has for simplifying the case authoring process, enhancing
recently increased, in large part due to commercial human-machine conversations, and extending CCBR
motivation; the most commercially successful appli- to address decision support tasks. In the next article,
cation of CBR tools has targeted the customer support Shimazu, Shibata, and Nihei describe recent advances
market niche [1]. This has been pursued vigorously in ExpertGuide, a more advanced CCBR tool, fo-
by Inference Corporation and, more recently, several cusing on demonstrating how CCBR tools can be used
other companies that market CBR shells. Help desk to develop WWW mentoring systems in a knowledge
systems are typically interactive; they require interac- management context. They describe multilink retrieval
tion between customers and, for example, call center capabilities to allow libraries to be searched from mul-
personnel. tiple viewpoints, entropy algorithms for ranking ques-
Although the CBR techniques in these systems have tions, and indexing cases using scripts. Next, Yang and
been historically simple from a researcher’s perspec- Wu address problems with very large case bases, and
tive, this does not imply a lack of interesting applied re- describe advances to CaseAdvisor. They introduce a
search issues. In particular, interactive CBR tools must real time algorithm for creating a decision forest to clus-
address several topics not addressed by non-interactive ter cases, and then use an information gain approach
tools (e.g., dialogue management, user modeling) and, to select questions. These articles all include empirical
due to their applied nature, must address integration evaluations that demonstrate the utilities of the algo-
issues with additional systems. rithms described.
8 Aha and Muñoz-Avila

McSherry’s article differs from the others; it ana- Many thanks to the Editor-in-Chief of Applied
lyzes needs for CCBR systems in the context of se- Intelligence, Professor Moonis Ali, for providing us
quential diagnosis tasks and describes how relevant with this opportunity. Thanks also to NCARAI/NRL,
advances in rule-based expert systems can be used to the University of Maryland, and the Office of Naval
improve CCBR behavior. His focus is CBR-Strategist, Research for supporting our efforts. But most of all,
which embodies these advances. thanks to the authors for their terrific contributions!
The remaining articles focus on interactive CBR in
a broader context. For example, Leake and Wilson’s
References
DRAMA system is exciting for its introduction of con-
cept maps to the CBR literature, and in demonstrating 1. I. Watson, Applying Case-Based Reasoning: Techniques for En-
how they can be used to support interactive retrieval terprise Systems, Morgan Kaufmann: San Francisco, 1997.
and adaptation (i.e., in the context of aerospace de- 2. D.W. Aha and L.A. Breslow, “Refining conversational case li-
sign tasks). McKenna and Smyth then extend their braries,” in Proceedings of the Second International Conference
well-known research on case competence modeling on Case-Based Reasoning, Springer: Providence, RI, pp. 267–
278, 1997.
by demonstrating how a visualization tool, in their 3. H. Shimazu, A. Shibata, and K. Nihei, “Case-based retrieval in-
CASCADE program, can provide valuable feedback terface adapted to customer-initiated dialogues in help desk op-
to users during the case authoring process. We be- erations,” in Proceedings of the Twelfth National Conference on
lieve this pioneering work will inspire several others Artificial Intelligence, AAAI Press: Seattle, WA, pp. 513–518,
to investigate how other visualization techniques can 1994.
4. K. Racine and Q. Yang, “Maintaining unstructured case bases,”
synergize with interactive CBR tools. The final arti- in Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Case-
cle describes the latest developments of SaxEx, an Based Reasoning, Springer: Providence, RI, pp. 553–564, 1997.
impressive CBR tool for increasing the expressiveness
of musical phrases. In their article, Arcos and López David W. Aha (UCI, 1990) leads projects on planning, case-based
de Mántaras describe how users can interactively pa- reasoning (CBR), and knowledge management. He has (co-) or-
rameterize the system, and report on the utility of this ganized ten meetings related to these areas, including serving as
Program Co-Chair for ICCBR’01. He is an editor for Machine Learn-
functionality. ing (ML), on the editorial board for Applied Intelligence, and edited
This first special issue devoted to interactive CBR a special quintuple journal issue on Lazy Learning (AI Review,
is highly appropriate for Applied Intelligence, given 1997). He is the Head of the Intelligent Decision Aids Group at
its application orientation. Researchers studying this NRL/NCARAI, where he leads several projects related to mixed-
subject have recognized that this focus on user interac- initiative planning and intelligent lessons learned systems.
tion provides a rich source for researchers interested in
Héctor Muñoz-Avila (U. Kaiserslautern, 1998) is currently work-
developing tools with high potential for practical ap- ing on projects related to mixed-initiative planning in dynamic,
plication. We are very happy to have attracted six con- real-world domains that require multi-model reasoning approaches.
tributions from some of the most experienced groups While working with groups at the Naval Research Laboratory and
in the CBR field; their articles are representative of the the University of Maryland, he has contributed significantly to the
state-of-the-art in case-based reasoning, and address design and development of the HICAP plan authoring tool suite and
the SHOP generative planner. Hector’s areas of expertise include
many exciting topics. We hope that others will also en- case-based reasoning, planning and machine learning, and he of-
joy reading papers from this issue, and invite them to ten contributes publications to and serves as a reviewer for several
contribute to interactive CBR. conferences and journals related to these areas.