2. Reasoning: Goal Trees and Problem Solving

Problem reduction

Take a complicate problem and transform it into a simpler problem.

Start with safe transformations, the ones you are sure will work in any case. Then apply heuristic transformations, the ones that could work.

The problem simplification schema, may create “and node“, where the problem forks in several sub problems and “or node” where the problem may be solved with either one or another transformation. The resulting schema is usually called a “problem reduction tree“, “and/or tree” or “goal tree“.

In an “or node”, it helps to understand the depth of functional composition (number of transformations to be applied after and “or” options of the branch) and the simplicity of solving each options to complete the problem resolution.


Everything depends on the domain of the problem and the knowledge required to solve it. Knowledge about knowledge, meta-knowledge, is power to solve problems.

  1. Start by evaluating what kind of knowledge is involved.
  2. Understand how the knowledge is represented. Each category of knowledge has its own way of being represented.
  3. Know how the knowledge is used.
  4. Know how much knowledge is required to solve the problem.
  5. Know what exactly knowledge does to solve the problem.

1. Introduction and scope

What is Artifical Intelligence?

Algorithms, enabled by constraints, exposed by representations, that support the building of models targeted at thinking, perception and action, and the loops that tie them together.

Artificial Intelligence is applied through problem solving procedures, methods, techniques and algorithms.

How to approach a problem

Generate solutions and test to obtain positive or negative results.

This approach involved building generators with certain properties: not redundant (should not give the same solution twice), they should also be informable (able to select a category and disregard other)

Rumpelstiltskin principle

Being able to name what you’re talking about gives you power over it, to understand and solve problems. Naming things grants power over concepts.

Difference between trivial and simple

Trivial ideas implies that they are worthless, useless. In AI, the most simple ideas are often the most powerful.

The benefits of language

  1. Enables to tell stories
  2. Enables to marshal the resources of the perceptual apparatus. It lets us imagine things that we never saw before.