Re: Ever heard of Max?

Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Wed, 10 Feb 1999 14:27:58 -0800

As a matter of fact, I think I cited it in my thesis. I had
a short section on declarative vs. procedural knowledge. If you
fix your reasoning engine to only support certain types
of engines, i.e. rule-based inference, concept structures, and
case-based learning, then you can do everything declaratively.
This doesn't always work in the real world of non-intelligent
agents, i.e. humans. 8-)


Declarative vs. Procedural. A declarative statement is an assertion
about what is or should be true or valid; a procedural statement is a
description of how to achieve it. Ideally, if the control information
for a workflow was general, flexible, and adaptable enough, the workflow
could be specified completely with declarative, goal-based imperatives.
Because human-executed activities are highly dynamic and require
flexible exception handling, it is difficult and sometimes
impossible to completely specify a process in this way. Procedural
details for any reasonably complex process may be required for
efficiency, policy, quality, or accountability concerns. Also in terms
of representability, some processes are more easily described in
procedural rather than logical statements. While the two aren't
irreconcilable, they represent different paradigms.

> I was curious whether anybody on FoRK has ever heard of Max, from UMich.
> Kuokka, D.R., "MAX: A meta-reasoning architecture for 'X'," SIGART Bulletin
> 2, 1991, 93-97.
> MAX Background
> The MAX architecture is intended to support the reasoning and meta-reasoning
> required of integrated intelligent agents. It integrates reasoning,
> execution, and learning, and is based on the idea of specifying all
> reasoning and learning capabilities of the system as declarative knowledge.
> The developers of MAX list several capabilities that an architecture for
> general intelligence should have. An architecture should be able to focus
> its problem solving resources based on its current goals, be able to learn
> intentionally, and exhibit situation dependent reactivity. The claim, then,
> is that all of these capabilities require meta-level reasoning, and MAX is
> designed to address this general class of problems.
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