The book provides a survey about the field of Qualitative Reasoning, it contrasts and classifies its approaches and puts them into a common framework. Qualitative Reasoning represents an approach of Artificial Intelligence to model dynamic systems, about which little information is available, and to derive statements about the potential behavior of these systems, putting emphasis on a causal explanation of the behavior. Both variables and relationships between variables are described by means of qualitative terms such as small and large or positive and negative. Since this approach also takes into consideration the way how humans reason about physical systems, it can be stated that Qualitative Reasoning participates in the creation of a cognitive theory of non-numerical process descriptions which can be mapped onto a digital computer. This approach can be used for simulation, diagnosis, design, structure identification and interpretation. Areas of application are physics, medicine, the field of ecology, process control, etc. In addition to the classification of existing methods, the book presents a new approach based on fuzzy sets. And the work relates Qualitative Reasoning with such fields of Expert Systems, System Theory and Cognitive Science.
I Introducing Qualitative Reasoning.- 1. Instead of a Definition.- 2. Tasks of Qualitative Reasoning.- 3. Basic Principles.- 4. A Short History.- II The Basics of Qualitative Reasoning.- 1. The Main Approaches.- 1.1 The Device-centered Ontology.- 1.2 The Process-centered Ontology.- 1.3 The Constraint-based Ontology.- 2. Correspondences and Differences.- 3. Dimensions of Qualitative Mapping.- 4. The Reasoning Techniques of the Main Approaches.- 4.1 The Constraint-based Ontology.- 4.2 The Device-centered Ontology.- 4.3 The Process-centered Ontology.- III Advanced Topics.- 1. Some Remarks on Causality.- 2. The Problem of Ambiguity - Improvements in the Representation of Structure and the Generation of behavior.- 3. The Representation of Uncertainty.- 3.1 Fuzzy Sets Used in Qualitative Reasoning.- 3.2 QUALSIM.- 3.3 A Representation Based on Markov Chains.- 4. A Graph-based Interpretation of Qualitative Models.- IV Qualitative Reasoning and Related Fields.- 1. Simulation in System Theory.- 2. Qualitative Reasoning and Expert Systems.- 3. Modeling Human Reasoning - a Short Look at Cognitive Science.- V Modeling in Qualitative Reasoning.- VI Conclusion and Suggestions for Further Research.- References.