Report Number: CS-TR-82-923
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: Explanatory power for medical expert systems: studies in the representation of causal relationships for clinical consultations
Author: Wallis, Jerold W.
Author: Shortliffe, Edward H.
Date: July 1982
Abstract: This paper reports on experiments designed to identify and implement mechanisms for enhancing the explanation capabilities of reasoning programs for medical consultation. The goals of an explanation system are discussed, as is the additional knowledge needed to meet these goals in a medical domain. We have focussed on the generation of explanations that are appropriate for different types of system users. This task requires a knowledge of what is complex and what is important; it is further strengthened by a classification of the associations or causal mechanisms inherent in the inference rules. A causal representation can also be used to aid in refining a comprehensive knowledge base so that the reasoning and explanations are more adequate. We describe a prototype system which reasons from causal inference rules and generates explanations that are appropriate for the user.