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authors Minsky, M.
year 1963
title Steps toward artificial intelligence
source E.A. Feigenbaum & J. Feldman, eds., Computers and Thought (McGraw-Hill, New York) 406-450.
summary The problems of heuristic programming-of making computers solve really difficult problems-are divided into five main areas: Search, Pattern-Recognition, Learning, Planning, and Induction. Wherever appropriate, the discussion is supported by extensive citation of the literature and by descriptions of a few of the most successful heuristic (problem-solving) programs constructed to date. The adjective "heuristic," as used here and widely in the literature, means related to improving problem-solving performance; as a noun it is also used in regard to any method or trick used to improve the efficiency of a problem-solving system. A "heuristic program," to be considered successful, must work well on a variety of problems, and may often be excused if it fails on some. We often find it worthwhile to introduce a heuristic method, which happens to cause occasional failures, if there is an over-all improvement in performance. But imperfect methods are not necessarily heuristic, nor vice versa. Hence "heuristic" should not be regarded as opposite to "foolproof"; this has caused some confusion in the literature.
series other
email minsky@media.mit.edu
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