Report Number: CS-TR-71-221
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: A heuristic programming study of theory formation in science
Author: Buchanan, Bruce G.
Author: Feigenbaum, Edward A.
Author: Lederberg, Joshua
Date: July 1971
Abstract: The Meta-DENDRAL program is a vehicle for studying problems of theory formation in science. The general strategy of Meta-DENDRAL is to reason from data to plausible generalizations and then to organize the generalizations into a unified theory. Three main subproblems are discussed: (1) explain the experimental data for each individual chemical structure, (2) generalize the results from each structure to all structures, and (3) organize the generalizations into a unified theory. The program is built upon the concepts and programmed routines already available in the Heuristic DENDRAL performance program, but goes beyond the performance program in attempting to formulate the theory which the performance program will use.