0 оценок0% нашли этот документ полезным (0 голосов)

1 просмотров12 страницotros

Apr 28, 2018

Newell_box00020_fld01387_bdl0001_doc0001

© © All Rights Reserved

PDF, TXT или читайте онлайн в Scribd

otros

© All Rights Reserved

0 оценок0% нашли этот документ полезным (0 голосов)

1 просмотров12 страницNewell_box00020_fld01387_bdl0001_doc0001

otros

© All Rights Reserved

Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 12

Paper *96

March 13, 1967

CHAPTER IV

once discovered, can be identified easily as a solution* tie task of dis-

covering solutions may be trivial '{e.go, a T-ssase for a rat with food in

one branch)o The difficulties in complex problem solving usually arise

from some combination of two factors § the size of the set of possible

solutions that must be searched, and the task of identifying whether &

proposed solution actually satisfies the conditions of the problem., In

any particular case, either or both of these may be the sources of problem

difficulty By using our formal models of problem solving we can often

lems., and measures of the effectiveness of particular problem solving

processes and devices» Let us consider some examples.

solutions (proofs) for the problems handled by the Logic Theorist«, By a

possible proof- which we shall take as the element of the set W (Figure

If we impose no limits on the length or other characteristics of such se-

quences s their number, obvious ly s, is infiniteo Hence, we must suppose at

GIF #96

the outset that we are not concerned with the whole set of possible proofs,

but with some subset comprising, say, the "simpler" elements of that set.

We might restrict W, for example, to lists consisting of not more than

twenty logic expressions, with each expression not more than 23 symbols

in length and involving only the variables p, q, ?, s* and t, and the con-

nective 3 "V" and 'tD". The number of possible proofs meeting these restric°

235 ~-one followed W 235 zeros»

tions is about 10

The task is also not trivial of verifying that a particular ele-

ment of the set tf, ©B we have just defined it, is a proof of a particular

s

in the sequence is an axiom or follows from some of the expressions pre-

ceding it by the rules of deductive inference. In addition, of course,

Clearly, selecting possible proofs by sheer trial and error and

testing whether each element selected is actually the desired proof is not

a, feasible method for proving logic theorems for either humans or machines

The set to be searched is to© large and the testing of the elements sel-

ected is too difficult How can we bring thia task down to manageable pre=

ceedingly large but also arbitrary, for it depends entirely on the restrie

tions of simplicity we impose on W, By strengthening these conditions, we

reduce the size of W? by weakening them we increase its size We must look

for & more meaningful way to describe the size of the set Wo It does not

appear that there is any non- trivial measure of W that is entirely indepen-

dent of assumptions about the solution process

CIP #96 ~3~

process that produces members of W in a certain order, and ask how many

members the generator would have to produce* on the average, to obtain

solutions to problems of a specified class, Stated otherwise 9 we can con

struct some sort of measure of the size of a problem space by measuring

the power of an exceedingly weak heuristic applied to the problem This

measure will not be independent of the heuristic we select as yardstick,

but it will allow us to compare the power of alternative heuristics with

the power of that heuristic as a standard

We shall now describe such a standard for problems of proving

theorems in logic 0 let us generate elements of W according to the follow-

ing simple scheme (which we call the British Museum Algorithm in honor of

the primates who are credited with employing it)?

(1) We consider only lists of logic expressions that are valid

proofc= that is, whose initial expressions are isxioms, and each of whose

expressions is derived from prior ones by valid rules of inference By

generating only sequences that are proofs (of something), we eliminate

the major part of the task of verification 0

(2) We generate first those proofs that consist of a single ex=

preesion (the axioms themselves), then proofs two expressions long, and so

on 9 limiting the alphabet of symbols as before Given all the proofs of

length kg, we generate those of length (fc+1) ky applying the rules of infer=

enee in all permissible ways to the former to generate new derived

GIF #96 -4=

5/

3ions that can be added to the sequences., ~* That is, we generate a

a&ze (see again 9 figure 1} each choice point (a^, b^, b^> etc 4 of which

represents a proof, with the alleys leading from the choice point repre

senting the legitimate ways of deriving new expressions as immediate con

sequences of: the expressions contained in the proof Thus, in the figure,

path 2, 2/

Figure 4 shows how the set of n»step proofs generated by the

algorithm increases with n at the very start of the proof-generating

processo This enumeration only extends to replacements of "v" with 'tD" 9

b" with "v", and negation of variables (e.g., 'S p" for "p">° No detach-

ments and no complex substitutions (eeg, s "q v r" for "p") are included<>

No specializations have been made Ce 0 g 09 substitution of p for q in "p v q 11}

If we include the specializations, which take three more steps, the algo-

rithm will generate an (estimated) additional 600 theorems, thus providing

a set of proofs, all of 11 steps or less, containing almost 1,000 theorems 9

none of them duplicates»

What does the algorithm do with the sixty-odd theorems of Chap

ter 2 of Principia? One theorem (2,01) i$ obtained in step (4) of the

2o03, and 2.04) are obtained in step (6), hence among the first 115 o One

more (2.05) is obtained in step (8), hence in the first 246, Only one more

constructing the algorithmo The phrase "all permissible substitutions"

needs to be qualified, for there is an infinity of these. Care must

be taken not to duplicate expressions that differ only in the names of

their variableso We will not go into details here, but simply state

that these difficulties can be removed« The essential feature in con-

structing the algorithm is to allow only one thing to happen in gener

ating each new expression, i<>e», one replacement, substitution of "not°p"

for "p",

re 4

P #96 -6=

is included in the first 1,000, theorem (2.07).The proofs of all the re-

mainder require either complex substitutions or detachment.

We have no way at present to estimate how many proofs must be

generated to include proofs of all theorems of Chapter 2 of Principle 0

We will show later that it is almost certainly more than 10 0 More-

over, apart from the six theorems listed,, there is no reason to suppose

that the proofs of the Prineipia theorems would occur early in the list

Our information is too poor to estimate more than very roughly

the times required to produce such proofs by the algorithm using a computer

like JOHNNXAC; but we can estimate times of about 16 minutes (40 7090 see-

oads) to do the first 250 theorems of Figure 4 (i 0 e., through step (8}>

assuming processing times comparable with those in LTc The first part of

the algorithm has an additional special property, which holds only to the

point where detachment is first useds that no check for duplication is

necessary. Thus the time of computing the first few thousand proofs only

increases linearly with the number of theorems generated. For the theorems

requiring detachments 9 duplication checks must be made, and the total ccm

puting time increases as the square of the number of expressions generated

At this rate it would take eons of eons of computation for the British

Museum Algorithm to generate proofs for the theorems in Chapter 2 of Prin

cipia. By this measure, the set W is very largt, indeed, and something

more effective is needed than the British Museum Algorithm in order for a

man or machine to solve problems in symbolic logic in a reasonable time.

It is worth observing that, in spite of its spectacular inef-

ficiency, the generating process of the British Museum Algorithm is far

from random. In adding to subsequences of expressions, it applies only

#96

proofs (of something I)» The algorithm does not explore the space of

possible sequences of expressions, but only the space of proofSo Even

proofs e

X"

as—«K=» -J- ._ _BM_HLJ-: -' -+-• .••*•'.[ -•—-••--^T~ -m-'•'m-K&H.'f**a <=,auaiilf tSMW-ij ill.I'm i .1 *

ant of the Whitehead and Russell problems which we have also studied 9 and

which will be the subject of detailed analysis in Chapter . At Yale,

behavior of subjects who were given a small set (from one to four) of

logic expressions as premises and asked to derive another expression from

these, using twelve specified rules of transformation, (For details see

the discussion in the next section and Chapter 4o) If we again suppose

derivations to be generated by working forward from the premises, we can,

in the case where there is a single premise, make simple estimates of the

number of possible derivations of given length--and hence characterize

this particular problem maze.

Assuming (which are oversimplifications) that each rule of

transformation operates on one premise, and that each such rule is applic-

able to any premise, this particular maze branches in twelve directions (one

for each rule of transformation) at each choice point e That is, we start

out with a single premise; depending on which rule of transformation ve

apply* we obtain one of twelve possible new expressions from each of these»

CIP #96 °8~

k

and so on Thus, the number of possible sequences of length k is 12 0

If a problem expression can be derived from the premises in a minimum of

seven steps, then a trial-and^error search for the derivation would re

quire, on the average, the construction of 1/2x12 "18,000,000 sequences

If only four rules of transformation were actually applicable,

on the average^, at each stage a more realistic assumption, since expres-

sions must be of particular forms for particular rules to be applicable

t® them), the number of sequences of length 7 would still be 4 «16 9 384

Chess Playing

On the average, a chess player whose turn it is to move has his choice

among twenty to thirty legal alternatives 0 There is no difficulty, there

fore, in "finding" possible moves, but great difficulty in determining

whether a particular legal move is a good move* The problem lies in the

verifier and not in the generator,, However, a principal technique for eval

uating a move is to consider some of the opponent's possible replies to it,

one's own replies to his, and so on, only attempting to evaluate the result

ing positions after this maze of possible move sequences has been explored

to some deptho Even though, in this scheme, we restrict ourselves to legal

moves, hence to sequences generated by admissible operators, the maze of

move sequences is tremendously large. If we consider the number of contin

uations five moves deep for each player, assuming an average of 30 legal

continuations at each stage, we find thafc ? 9 the set of such move sequences

has about 10 (one (million billion) members

CIP #96

Opening a Safe

We can make similar estimates of the sizes of the set W for the

other examples of problem-solving tasks we have listecU In all cases the

set is so large as to foreclose (at least with human processing speeds) a

solution-generating process that makes essentially random search through

the set for possible solutions It will be useful to consider one addi-

tional "synthetic" example that has a simpler structure than any we have

i

discussed so far, and that will be helpful later in understanding how

various heuristic devices cut down the amount of search required to find

problem solutions° Consider a safe whose lock has ten independent dials,

each with numbers running from 00 to 99 on its face» The safe will have

100 -10 , or one hundred billion billion possible settings, only one of

which will unlock ito A would-be safe cracker, trying the combinations

systematically, could expect to take on the average 50 billion billion

trials to open ito

Puzzles

spaces as an explanation for problem difficulty. Not all difficult prob-

lems, however, have large spaces of possibilities associated with them.

There are non trivial problems, with certain characteristics that we would

call "puzzle-like," having very small spaces. Not all puzzles have small

W, but it will be interesting to see whether we can discover a common prop

erty of puzzles that makes their difficulty relatively independent of Wo

An example of a problem with small W that is difficult for most

people is the Missionaries and Cannibals problem. Three missionaries and

CIP #96 ,10-

three cannibals are on one bank of a river, waiting to cross« They have

a boat that will hold only two men at u time, and all members of the party

know how to paddle it, At no Cime may a missionary or set of missionaries

be left on either bank with a larger number of cannibals. What sequence

of boat loads will get the party acrcts the river safely? Let us generate

all the possible solution paths that eatiufy the conditions of the problem

(no more than two in the boat, missionaries ne er to be outnumbered on

either bank), terminating any path If it loops -returns to a situation pre-

viously achieved. We find that theve are tnly four paths, and each of

these leads to a solution of the problem! (The reader can easily construct

Thus, simply by listing the possible paths, a ^ ^,,i- :i on of t^e

Missionaries and Cannibals problem can ba obtained in a matter o£ *^*-eB

with pencil and paper. Yet intelligent people often take a half hour or

more to solve the problem. Why? The solution calls for eleven boat trips-

six across the river and five back. In all the trips across, two men are

carried in the boat; in all the trips back, except the third., one man

crosses alone. But two men have to be carried on the third return trip.

This step appears implausible to most people because it leads away from the

final goal, which is to get the members of the party across the river.

Hence this alternative is generally avoided for a long time. The small

total number of alternative paths does not facilitate solving the problem

because the correct paths are not traversed at all.

Other well-known puzzles can be shown to have the same property

Thus, their puzzle-like character is not simply a function of the size of

CiP #96 -li-

the problem space, but has to do also with the characteristics of the

generators that people commonly bring to the problem. Such puzzles

solving programs. We shall see presently what properties of solution

generating programs create the difficulty in puzzle situationso

$ie problem space is often measured in terms of bits. units introduced in

information theory. The number of bits in a finite set is simply the

measure of size, we can as easily «ase digits> the logarithm to the base 10.

One digit is about 3.3 bits (Iog210**3.3)o

The safe in the example of the previous paragraph constituted

a problem space of 20 digits, or about 66 bitSo Knowledge of the correct

setting of any given gial would reduce the space to 18 digits, a reduction

of 2 digitso Hence, we can say that a dial setting provides 2 (decimal)

digits of informationo This relation holds in general; a decimal number

one out of 10 possible numbers.

The advantage of measuring the size of a set by the number of its

elements rather than the logarithm of that number resides in the feet that

the average time required to find a specified maaber of the set by non

CIP #96 -70

tic has no close analogue in XX).

Both LT and the Geometry Theorem Machine work backward. Be-

causs they do so, they both have available a powerful matching heuristic

for determining which substitutions to make for the variables in the axioms

Both programs generate subproblems that are placed on a list where they

can be examined to determine which subproblem should be attempted next.

In both programs, the subproblems generated provide guarantees that a path

Cor, in some cases, a conjunction of paths) from the axioms to the final

goal will be a valid proof. These heuristics are not only common to these

two programs, tout they are applicable to any realm of mathematics where

proofs involve some kind of substitution of appropriate constants for vari-

ables. We will encounter these same heuristics again in other contexts.

## Гораздо больше, чем просто документы.

Откройте для себя все, что может предложить Scribd, включая книги и аудиокниги от крупных издательств.

Отменить можно в любой момент.