KAW: Knowledge Acquisition, Modeling and Management

Sisyphus Projects


One major dimension of research reported through KAW is that theories, methodologies and techniques have been made operational through their implementation in tools that have been demonstrated to the community.

In the early years it was natural also to attempt to share these tools in order to evaluate their efficacy when used by those other than their originators. In the early years the attempts to share tools were not very successful because:-

These issues led to the development of the Sisyphus series of challenge problems in which, rather than share tools, a knowledge acquisition problem was defined and tool developers were challenged to solve it with their tools.

Sisyphus Problems

Four Sisyphus problems have been defined:

Sisyphus-I: Room Allocation

The first Sisyphus project was a room allocation problem, a resource allocation task in which a number of people with differing requirements as to type of room have to be allocated appropriate rooms from a number of rooms with differing characteristics. It was based on an ESPRIT study at the GMD in Germany and intended as a knowledge acquisition challenge problem that did not seem amenable to many of the existing knowledge acquisition techniques that focused on heuristic classification. A set of papers on Sisyphus-I solutions was published in a special issue of the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 40(2) 1994. An article on an example solution is available on the web.

Sisyphus-II: Elevator Configuration

The room allocation problem proved to relatively simple and the second Sisyphus project attempted to provide a realistic knowledge-engineering problem. It was based on the domain knowledge for elevator configuration that was used to build Marcus' VT system. A set of papers on Sisyphus-II solutions was published in a special issue of the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. An article on an example solution is available on the web. The Knowledge Systems Goup of the Knowledge Media Institute at the Open University in the UK has also made an operational solution available interactively through the web.

Sisyphus-III: Igneous Rock Classification

The principal objectives of the Sisyphus III project are:
  1. To provide for better quantitative comparison of KB systems and the methodologies employed to build them, through use of a set of achievement metrics
  2. To provide more realistic access to actual KA material in a staged series of releases
  3. To obtain more complete records (or knowledge engineering meta-protocols) concerning the processes that the knowledge engineer goes through in the KBS construction process

Some Sisyphus-III studies will be reported at KAW98.

Sisyphus-IV: Integration over the Web

In recent years many knowledge acquisition tools have been ported to operate through the Internet and World Wide Web and it has become possible to provide access to tools to the community in a way that alleviates the problems noted in the first section above. Sisyphus-IV is a project to encourage projects collaborative use of tools through the net and web and by the integration of web tools at different sites through the net. Some Sisyphus-IV studies will be reported at KAW98.

gaines@cpsc.ucalgary.ca, 18-Nov-97