Reasoning about Multiple Faults

Johan de Kleer, Brian Williams

Diagnostic tasks require determining the differences between a model of an artifact and the artifact itself The differences between the manifested behavior of the artifact and the predicted behavior of the model guide the search for the differences between the artifact and its model. The diagnostic procedure presented in this paper is model-based, inferring the behavior of the composite device from knowledge of the structure and function of the individual components comprising the device. The system (GDE - General Diagnostic Engine) has been implemented and tested on examples in the domain of troubleshooting digital circuits. This research makes several novel contributions: First, the system diagnoses failures due to multiple faults. Second, failure candidates are represented and manipulated in terms of minimal sets of violated assumptions, resulting in an efficient diagnostic procedure. Third, the diagnostic procedure is incremental, reflecting the iterative nature of diagnosis. Finally, a clear separation is drawn between diagnosis and behavior prediction, resulting in a domain (and inference procedure) independent diagnostic procedure.

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