System self-explanation is critical for the construction, utility, acceptance, and maintenance of complex, knowledge-based software. This paper presents a new methodology and implementation techniques that enable software systems to explain their knowledge and reasoning, i.e., to become "self-revealing." The theory addresses the spectrum of explanation goals and is applicable to complex and unstructured domains and to general control structures. The method, called REVEAL, represents the culmination of research and experimentation with new explanation techniques conducted as part of the development of a legal expert system, SAL (System for Asbestos Litigation). SAL adheres to the design philosophy of REVEAL and utilizes many of the associated techniques. Throughout the dissertation, the theoretical concepts are demonstrated by examples of their implementation in SAL.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.