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Guest Editors’ Introduction

Object-Oriented
Programming in AI
Sherman R. Alpert, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
Scott W. Woyak, EDS Research and Development
Howard J. Shrobe, Symbollcs
Lloyd F. Arrowood, Martln Marletta

n recent years, the computer science single entity, facilitating the representa- ods, slot access, etc.) as objects adhering
community has shown increasing interest tion of both knowledge and the entities of to a common protocol. Specialized be-
in the object-oriented programming para- the domain being modeled. Since we can havior objects enable the uniform inte-
digm. Many researchers have pointed out view objects as computer-based, execut- gration of rule-based, logic, and access-
OOP’s software engineering benefits, able instances of corresponding entities oriented programming.
such as ease of reuse, modularity, and ex- in the problem domain,6 the object- Similarly, OOP can be the enabling
tensibility.’ The artificial intelligence oriented approach lets us focus on those technology for integrating AI compo-
community has also shown interest,‘s3 as entities and construct computational enti- nents with conventional applications. Our
evidenced by many object-oriented ex- ties that map closely to them and have first article, by David Franke, describes
tensions to conventional AI programming similar abstracted capabilities.7 Systems an object-oriented protocol that allows
languages such as Lisp and Prolog. The can then be “inhabited” by the same enti- the integration of an inferencing mecha-
most prominent recent example is the ties as those in the problem domain. This nism with CAD tools. The protocol de-
Common Lisp Object System,4v5a hard- feature has been exploited in intelligent fines a set of messages for performing
ware-independent standard that demon- simulation research.*s9 Moreover, these both forward and backward chaining in-
strates a desire to put object-oriented tools ideas apply equally well to conceptual ferencing. In particular, the protocol lets
in the hands of large numbers of AI sys- entities, such as goals and rules in an the rules operate on the tool’s data struc-
tem builders. expert reasoning system, as to concrete tures as if the structures were assertions in
Such activity reflects a belief that OOP objects. the rule base. This provides a tighter
can benefit AI application developers. To OOP also offers the advantages of coupling between the existing tool and
explore the nature of such benefits, IEEE modularity, which eases the task of the AI the inferencing component, and it avoids
Expert is initiating a special track: system developer who aims to “carve translations between the different repre-
“Object-Oriented Programming in AI.” nature at the joints.” Modularity com- sentations.
This track will feature case studies dem- bines with the additional object-oriented OOP also facilitates other strategies
onstrating OOP’s utility in constructing features of data hiding and polymorphism for the construction of intelligent sys-
intelligent systems. Our goal is to illus- to allow the seamless integration of tems. For example, one approach asserts
trate the types of AI problems and appli- heterogeneous knowledge structures and that a knowledge-based task can be
cations for which OOP facilitates a com- inferencing mechanisms. Although dif- accomplished by decomposing it into
putational solution. We begin the special ferent objects might employ disparate several agents, eachcontaining and repre-
track with two articles in this issue; sev- representations internally or behave dif- senting a chunk of the complete knowl-
eral more articles will appear in subse- ferently, they might all respond to an edge needed to accomplish the overall
quent issues. identical set of messages, or protocol. For task. By applying the object-oriented
OOP techniques have been used in example, in Joshua,r” a generic set of mes- metaphor of intelligent communicating
many practical AI systems, including sages defines a “Protocol of Inference” agents, we can view the computational
system development environments and for modifying and querying a database of system in terms of individual experts
domain-specific knowledge-based appli- assertions. Although differ- ent types of that accomplish goals via interaction. A
cations. The experience of building these assertions could have different ways of variety of applications have employed
systems has revealed a number of inher- responding to messages, all are externally these notions, including a natural-
ent benefits of the object-oriented ap- represented and accessed in a uniform language parser in which objects repre-
proach. For example, objects encapsulate way. In another example, the EDS/OWL senting parsing experts for individual
both data and processing capabilities in a environment” defines behaviors (meth- sentence constituents interact to parse
c
6 0885/9000/90/1200-OlM.5 $1.00 0 1990 IEEE
entire sentences.‘* OOP’s fundamental References Sherman R. Alpert is on the research
characteristics facilitate the construction staff of the User Interface Institute at IBM’s
of a system with such an architecture: 1. B.J. Cox, Object-OrientedProgramming: T.J. Watson ResearchCenter. For severalyears
An Evolutionary Approach, Addison- prior, he was a software consultant. He is a
because objects encapsulate both state Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1986. doctoral student in the Computing in Educa-
and behavior, and because they possess
2. M. Stefik and D.G. Bobrow, “Object- tion program at Columbia University’s Teach-
inherent communication capabilities, ers College, where he receivedhis MA in 1987.
they are natural candidates for the imple- Oriented Programming: Themes and
Variations,” AZ Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 1, He received a BS in computer sciencefrom the
mentation of distributed, multiple-agent, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Winter 1986, pp. 40-62.
intelligent systems.13 in 1974. His current researchinterests include
Our second paper, by Naser Barghouti 3. D.G. Bobrow and M.J. Stefik, “Perspec- educational issuesin object-oriented program-
and Gail Kaiser, further explores the use tives on Artificial Intelligence ming, and his current projects includes a com-
of object orientation in multiple-agent Programming,”Science, Vol. 231, 1986, puter-based curriculum and an intelligent tu-
environments. In their rule-based soft- pp. 951-957, reprinted in Readings in toring systemfor Smalltalk. He is a memberof
ware development environment, objects
Artificial Intelligence and Software Engi- the IEEE Computer Society and the ACM.
neering, C. Rich and R.C. Waters, eds.,
model both software modules and the Morgan Kaufmann, San Mateo, Calif.,
agents that act on them (either human 1986, pp. 581-587. Scott W. Woyak is a senior research
users or components of the environment). engineer at EDS Researchand Development.
Rules capture the requirements of the 4. L.G. DeMichiel and R.P. Gabriel, “The He was a principal developerof the EDS/OWL
Common Lisp Object System,”in Proc. object-oriented AI programmingenvironment,
software development methodology European Conf. Object-Oriented Pro-
being modeled, for example, a require- and he is now developing an object-oriented
gramming (ECOOP 87), J. Bezevin et al.,
ment that certain test suites must be run framework for graphical user interfaces.
eds., Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1987, pp. Woyak chaired a workshop on object-oriented
after a particular module is modified. The 151-170. programming in AI at IJCAI-89 and AAAI-90.
central issue explored by Barghouti and
5. S.E. Keene, Object-Oriented Program- He received a BS in computer science from
Kaiser is how to support cooperation ming in Common Lisp; A Programmer’s Northwestern University, and he is a member
among a team of software developers Guide to CLOS, Addison-Wesley, Read- of the IEEE Computer Society and the ACM.
working on a common project. Their so- ing, Mass., 1989.
lution involves an object-oriented data-
base with a novel concurrency-control 6. B.J. Cox, “Message/Object Program- Howard J. Shrobe is vice president of
ming: An Evolutionary Change in Pro- technology at Symbolics, where he was one of
mechanism rooted in the semantics of the gramming Technology,” IEEE Softwure,
object-oriented representation. the architects of the Ivory microprocessorand
Vol. 1, No. 1, Jan. 1984, pp. 50-61. the NS CAD systemused to design it. He has
Over the course of this special track
we will examine other issues of interest 7. M.B. Rosson and S.R. Alpert, “The Cog- since led the effort to develop Joshua,an art-
nitive Consequencesof Object-Oriented ficial-intelligence programming language that
to AI application developers, such as introduced the notion of a Protocol of Infer-
Design,” Human-Computer Interaction,
articles that Vol. 5, 1990, pp. 345-379. ence. Shrobealso is a memberof the Hardware
compare the use of objects to repre- Troubleshooting project and a lecturer in arti-
l
8. H.H. Adelsberger et al., “Rule-Based ficial intelligence at the MassachusettsInsti-
sent knowledge with other approaches, Object-Oriented Simulation Systems,”in tute of Technology. His interestshave included
such as frames; Intelligent Simulation Environments, VLSI design, computerarchitecture,and artifi-
l compare the OOP notion of inheri- P.A. Luker and H.H. Adelsberger, eds., cial intelligence.
tance to other models of representation Society for Computer Simulation, San Shrobe is coauthor of Interactive Program-
sharing; Diego, Calif., 1986, pp. 107-l 12. ming Environments and was editor of the AAAI
l examine the relationship between 9. H.R. Myler, “Object-Oriented Training book, Exploring Artificial Intelligence: Sur-
the use of objects to implement cooperat- Simulation,” in AI Papers 1988: Proc. veys from the National Conferences on Artifi-
ing intelligent agents and the AI subfield Conf AlandSimulution, R.J. Uttamsingh, cial Intelligence. He received his MS and PhD
of distributed artificial intelligence; ed., Societyfor Computer Simulation, San degrees from MIT’s Artificial Intelligence
Diego, Calif., 1988, pp. 156-160. Laboratory, where he was a cofounder of the
l discuss the adaptability of objects Programmer’s Apprentice project.
for automated knowledge acquisition or 10. S. Rowley et al., “Joshua: Uniform
machine learning systems; Access to Heterogeneous Knowledge
l explore the integration and manage- Structures, or Why Joshing is Better Lloyd F. Arrowood is a computing
ment of objects in production environ- than Conniving or Planning,” in Proc. specialistin the Computing and Telecommuni-
ments that emphasize persistence, secu- National Conf. Artificial Intelligence cations Division of Martin Marietta Energy
rity, and performance; and (AAAI87), MIT Press,Cambridge, Mass., Systems,which managesOak Ridge National
1987, pp. 48-52. Laboratory for the US Department of Energy.
l describe the use of object-oriented
programming in other specific knowl- 11. M.H. Ibrahim and S.W. Woyak, “An For the pastsix years,Arrowood hasdeveloped
Object-Oriented Environment for Mul- knowledge-basedsystemsfor a wide variety of
edge-based application domains. applications. While at Oak Ridge, he has been
tiple AI Paradigms,”in Proc. IEEE Znt’l
We thank Editorial Board member Conf Tools for Artificial Intelligence,
one of the principal developers of ARK, a
Sanjay Mittal, Editor-In-Chief B. Chan- 1990, pp. 77-83. knowledge acquisition tool. Arrowood’s cur-
rent research interests include knowledge
drasekaran, and former Managing Editor 12. S.R. Alpert and M.B. Rosson, “Object- acquisition, machine learning, and truth main-
Henry Ayling for their support and guid- Oriented Programming for AI Applica- tenance. He holds a BA and an MS degree
ance. We also thank our volunteer refe- tion Development,”IBM researchreport, in computer science from the University of
rees, without whom this track would not available from author at address below, Tennessee.
have been possible, and the researchers 1990.
and application developers who submit- 13. H. Lieberman, “Languages, Object Ori-
ted manuscripts. Lastly, we thank our ented,” in Encyclopedia of Artificial
respective employers, who have provided Intelligence, Volume I, S.C. Shapiro, ed., Readers can reach the guest editors through
support in the form of time for this special John Wiley & Sons,New York, 1987, pp. Alpert at IBM’s T.J. Watson ResearchCenter,
track. 452-456. PO Box 704, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598.

DECEMBER 1990