Formulating diagnostic problem solving using an action language with narratives and sensing

Chitta Baral, Sheila McIlraith, and Tran Cao Son


Given a system and unexpected observations about the system, a diagnosis is often viewed as a fault assignment to the various components of the system which is consistent with (or which explains) the observations. If the observations occur over time, and if we allow the occurrence of (deliberate) actions and (exogenous) events, then the traditional notion of a candidate diagnosis must be modified to consider the {\em possible occurrence of actions} and events that could account for the unexpected system behavior.
In the presence of multiple candidate diagnoses, we may need to perform actions and observe their impact on the system, to be able to narrow the list of possible diagnoses, and possibly even initiate some repair. A plan that guarantees such narrowing will be referred to as a {\em diagnostic plan}, and if this plan also guarantees that at the end of the execution of the plan, the system has no faults then we refer to it as a {\em repair plan}.
Since actions and narrative play a central role in diagnostic problem solving, we characterize diagnosis, diagnostic planning and repair with respect to the existing action language $\call$, extended to include static constraints, sensing actions, and the notion of observable fluents. This language is used to provide a uniform account of diagnostic problem solving.