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The Quest for Artificial Intelligence by Nils J. Nilsson

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6

Semantic Representations

THE COMPUTER PROGRAMS I HAVE DESCRIBED SO FAR PERFORMED TRANSFORMA-tions on relatively simple symbol structures, which were all that were required for the mathematical problems, puzzles, and games that these programs dealt with. The main effort was in coming up with and using problem-specific heuristics (such as features to be used in computing the value of a checkers position, for example) to limit the number of transformations of these structures in searches for solutions. As Minsky put it, “The most central idea of the pre-1962 period was that of finding heuristic devices to control the breadth of a trial-and-error search.”1 In the early 1960s, several Ph.D. research projects, some performed under Minsky’s direction ...

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