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Based on experiences from an autonomous mobile robot project called MOBOT -III, we found hard realtime-constraints for the operating-system-design. ALBATROSS is "A flexible multi-tasking and realtime network-operatingsystem-kernel", not limited to mobile- robot-projects only, but which might be useful also wherever you have to guarantee a high reliability of a realtime-system. The focus in this article is on a communication-scheme fulfilling the demanded (hard realtime-) assurances although not implying time-delays or jitters on the critical informationchannels. The central chapters discuss a locking-free shared buffer management, without the need for interrupts and a way to arrange the communication architecture in order to produce minimal protocol-overhead and short cycle-times. Most of the remaining communication-capacity (if there is any) is used for redundant transfers, increasing the reliability of the whole system. ALBATROSS is actually implemented on a multi-processor VMEbus-system.

This paper refers to the problem of adaptability over an infinite period of time, regarding dynamic networks. A never ending flow of examples have to be clustered, based on a distance measure. The developed model is based on the self-organizing feature maps of Kohonen [6], [7] and some adaptations by Fritzke [3]. The problem of dynamic surface classification is embedded in the SPIN project, where sub-symbolic abstractions, based on a 3-d scanned environment is being done.

The problem to be discussed here, is the usage of neural network clustering techniques on a mobile robot, in order to build qualitative topologic environment maps. This has to be done in realtime, i.e. the internal world model has to be adapted by the flow of sensor- samples without the possibility to stop this data-flow.Our experiments are done in a simulation environment as well as on a robot, called ALICE.

Based on the experiences from an autonomous mobile robot project called MOBOT-III, we found hard realtime-constraints for the operating- system-design. ALBATROSS is "A flexible multi-tasking and realtime network-operating-system-kernel". The focusin this article is on a communication-scheme fulfilling the previous demanded assurances. The centralchapters discuss the shared buffer management and the way to design the communication architecture.Some further aspects beside the strict realtime-requirements like the possibilities to control and watch a running system, are mentioned. ALBATROSS is actually implemented on a multi-processor VMEbus-system.

Based on the idea of using topologic feature-mapsinstead of geometric environment maps in practical mobile robot tasks, we show an applicable way tonavigate on such topologic maps. The main features regarding this kind of navigation are: handling of very inaccurate position (and orientation) information as well as implicit modelling of complex kinematics during an adaptation phase. Due to the lack of proper a-priori knowledge, a re-inforcement based model is used for the translation of navigator commands to motor actions. Instead of employing a backpropagation network for the cen-tral associative memory module (attaching actionprobabilities to sensor situations resp. navigatorcommands) a much faster dynamic cell structure system based on dynamic feature maps is shown. Standard graph-search heuristics like A* are applied in the planning phase.

SPIN-NFDS Learning and Preset Knowledge for Surface Fusion - A Neural Fuzzy Decision System -
(1993)

The problem to be discussed in this paper may be characterized in short by the question: "Are these two surface fragments belonging together (i.e. belonging to the same surface)?" The presented techniques try to benefit from some predefined knowledge as well as from the possibility to refine and adapt this knowledge according to a (changing) real environment, resulting in a combination of fuzzy-decision systems and neural networks. The results are encouraging (fast convergence speed, high accuracy), and the model might be used for a wide range of applications. The general frame surrounding the work in this paper is the SPIN- project, where emphasis is on sub-symbolic abstractions, based on a 3-d scanned environment.

World models for mobile robots as introduced in many projects, are mostly redundant regarding similar situations detected in different places. The present paper proposes a method for dynamic generation of a minimal world model based on these redundancies. The technique is an extention of the qualitative topologic world modelling methods. As a central aspect the reliability regarding errortolerance and stability will be emphasized. The proposed technique demands very low constraints on the kind and quality of the employed sensors as well as for the kinematic precision of the utilized mobile platform. Hard realtime constraints can be handled due to the low computational complexity. The principal discussions are supported by real-world experiments with the mobile robot "

This article will discuss a qualitative, topological and robust world-modelling technique with special regard to navigation-tasks for mobile robots operating in unknownenvironments. As a central aspect, the reliability regarding error-tolerance and stability will be emphasized. Benefits and problems involved in exploration, as well as in navigation tasks, are discussed. The proposed method demands very low constraints for the kind and quality of the employed sensors as well as for the kinematic precision of the utilized mobile platform. Hard real-time constraints can be handled due to the low computational complexity. The principal discussions are supported by real-world experiments with the mobile robot

Self-localization in unknown environments respectively correlation of current and former impressions of the world is an essential ability for most mobile robots. The method,proposed in this article is the construction of a qualitative, topological world model as a basis for self-localization. As a central aspect the reliability regarding error-tolerance and stability will be emphasized. The proposed techniques demand very low constraints for the kind and quality of the employed sensors as well as for the kinematic precisionof the utilized mobile platform. Hard real-time constraints can be handled due to the low computational complexity. The principal discussions are supported by real-world experiments with the mobile robot.

Visual Search has been investigated by many researchers inspired by the biological fact, that the sensory elements on the mammal retina are not equably distributed. Therefore the focus of attention (the area of the retina with the highest density of sensory elements) has to be directed in a way to efficiently gather data according to certain criteria. The work discussed in this article concentrates on applying a laser range finder instead of a silicon retina. The laser range finder is maximal focused at any time, but therefore a low resolution total-scene-image, available with camera-like devices from scratch on, cannot be used here. By adapting a couple of algorithms, the edge-scanning module steering the laser range finder is able to trace a detected edge. Based on the data scanned so far , two questions have to be answered. First: "Should the actual (edge-) scanning be interrupted in order to give another area of interest a chance of being investigated?" and second: "Where to start a new edge-scanning, after being interrupted?". These two decision-problems might be solved by a range of decision systems. The correctness of the decisions depends widely on the actual environment and the underlying rules may not be well initialized with a-priori knowledge. So we will present a version of a reinforcement decision system together with an overall scheme for efficiently controlling highly focused devices.

ALICE
(1994)

Conditional Compilation (CC) is frequently used as a variation mechanism in software product lines (SPLs). However, as a SPL evolves the variable code realized by CC erodes in the sense that it becomes overly complex and difficult to understand and maintain. As a result, the SPL productivity goes down and puts expected advantages more and more at risk. To investigate the variability erosion and keep the productivity above a sufficiently good level, in this paper we 1) investigate several erosion symptoms in an industrial SPL; 2) present a variability improvement process that includes two major improvement strategies. While one strategy is to optimize variable code within the scope of CC, the other strategy is to transition CC to a new variation mechanism called Parameterized Inclusion. Both of these two improvement strategies can be conducted automatically, and the result of CC optimization is provided. Related issues such as applicability and cost of the improvement are also discussed.

As a Software Product Line (SPL) evolves with increasing number of features and feature values, the feature correlations become extremely intricate, and the specifications of these correlations tend to be either incomplete or inconsistent with their realizations, causing misconfigurations in practice. In order to guide product configuration processes, we present a solution framework to recover complex feature correlations from existing product configurations. These correlations are further pruned automatically and validated by domain experts. During implementation, we use association mining techniques to automatically extract strong association rules as potential feature correlations. This approach is evaluated using a large-scale industrial SPL in the embedded system domain, and finally we identify a large number of complex feature correlations.

Point-to-Point Trajectory Planning of Flexible Redundant Robot Manipulators Using Genetic Algorithms
(2001)

The paper focuses on the problem of point-to-point trajectory planning for flexible redundant robot manipulators (FRM) in joint space. Compared with irredundant flexible manipulators, a FRM possesses additional possibilities during point-to-point trajectory planning due to its kinematics redundancy. A trajectory planning method to minimize vibration and/or executing time of a point-to-point motion is presented for FRM based on Genetic Algorithms (GAs). Kinematics redundancy is integrated into the presented method as planning variables. Quadrinomial and quintic polynomial are used to describe the segments that connect the initial, intermediate, and final points in joint space. The trajectory planning of FRM is formulated as a problem of optimization with constraints. A planar FRM with three flexible links is used in simulation. Case studies show that the method is applicable.

The paper focuses on the problem of trajectory planning of flexible redundant robot manipulators (FRM) in joint space. Compared to irredundant flexible manipulators, FRMs present additional possibilities in trajectory planning due to their kinematics redundancy. A trajectory planning method to minimize vibration of FRMs is presented based on Genetic Algorithms (GAs). Kinematics redundancy is integrated into the presented method as a planning variable. Quadrinomial and quintic polynomials are used to describe the segments which connect the initial, intermediate, and final points in joint space. The trajectory planning of FRMs is formulated as a problem of optimization with constraints. A planar FRM with three flexible links is used in simulation. A case study shows that the method is applicable.

The vibration induced in a deformable object upon automatic handling by robot manipulators can often be bothersome. This paper presents a force/torque sensor-based method for handling deformable linear objects (DLOs) in a manner suitable to eliminate acute vibration. An adjustment-motion that can be attached to the end of an arbitrary end-effector's trajectory is employed to eliminate vibration of deformable objects. Differently from model-based methods, the presented sensor-based method does not employ any information from previous motions. The adjustment-motion is generated automatically by analyzing data from a force/torque sensor mounted on the robot wrist. Template matching technique is used to find out the matching point between the vibrational signal of the DLO and a template. Experiments are conducted to test the new method under various conditions. Results demonstrate the effectiveness of the sensor-based adjustment-motion.

Manipulating Deformable Linear Objects: Attachable Adjustment-Motions for Vibration Reduction
(2001)

This paper addresses the problem of handling deformable linear objects (DLOs) in a suitable way to avoid acute vibration. Different types of adjustment-motions that eliminate vibration of deformable objects and can be attached to the end of an arbitrary end-effector trajectory are presented. For describing the dynamics of deformable linear objects, the finite element method is used to derive the dynamic differential equations. Genetic algorithm is used to find the optimal adjustment motion for each simulation example. Experiments are conducted to verify the presented manipulating method.

Manipulating Deformable Linear Objects: Model-Based Adjustment-Motion for Vibration Reduction
(2001)

This paper addresses the problem of handling deformable linear objects (DLOs) in a suitable way to avoid acute vibration. An adjustment-motion that eliminates vibration of DLOs and can be attached to the end of any arbitrary end-effector's trajectory is presented, based on the concept of open-loop control. The presented adjustment-motion is a kind of agile end-effector motion with limited scope. To describe the dynamics of deformable linear objects, the finite element method is used to derive the dynamic differential equations. Genetic algorithm is used to find the optimal adjustment-motion for each simulation example. In contrast to previous approaches, the presented method can be treated as one of the manipulation skills and can be applied to different cases without major changes to the method.

This article presents contributions in the field of path planning for industrial robots with 6 degrees of freedom. This work presents the results of our research in the last 4 years at the Institute for Process Control and Robotics at the University of Karlsruhe. The path planning approach we present works in an implicit and discretized C-space. Collisions are detected in the Cartesian workspace by a hierarchical distance computation. The method is based on the A* search algorithm and needs no essential off-line computation. A new optimal discretization method leads to smaller search spaces, thus speeding up the planning. For a further acceleration, the search was parallelized. With a static load distribution good speedups can be achieved. By extending the algorithm to a bidirectional search, the planner is able to automatically select the easier search direction. The new dynamic switching of start and goal leads finally to the multi-goal path planning, which is able to compute a collision-free path between a set of goal poses (e.g., spot welding points) while minimizing the total path length.

We present a convenient notation for positive/negativeADconditional equations. Theidea is to merge rules specifying the same function by using caseAD, ifAD, matchAD, and letADexpressions.Based on the presented macroADruleADconstruct, positive/negativeADconditional equational specifiADcations can be written on a higher level. A rewrite system translates the macroADruleADconstructsinto positive/negativeADconditional equations.

We present an inference system for clausal theorem proving w.r.t. various kinds of inductivevalidity in theories specified by constructor-based positive/negative-conditional equations. The reductionrelation defined by such equations has to be (ground) confluent, but need not be terminating. Our con-structor-based approach is well-suited for inductive theorem proving in the presence of partially definedfunctions. The proposed inference system provides explicit induction hypotheses and can be instantiatedwith various wellfounded induction orderings. While emphasizing a well structured clear design of theinference system, our fundamental design goal is user-orientation and practical usefulness rather thantheoretical elegance. The resulting inference system is comprehensive and relatively powerful, but requiresa sophisticated concept of proof guidance, which is not treated in this paper.This research was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 314 (D4-Projekt)

We study the combination of the following already known ideas for showing confluence ofunconditional or conditional term rewriting systems into practically more useful confluence criteria forconditional systems: Our syntactic separation into constructor and non-constructor symbols, Huet's intro-duction and Toyama's generalization of parallel closedness for non-noetherian unconditional systems, theuse of shallow confluence for proving confluence of noetherian and non-noetherian conditional systems, theidea that certain kinds of limited confluence can be assumed for checking the fulfilledness or infeasibilityof the conditions of conditional critical pairs, and the idea that (when termination is given) only primesuperpositions have to be considered and certain normalization restrictions can be applied for the sub-stitutions fulfilling the conditions of conditional critical pairs. Besides combining and improving alreadyknown methods, we present the following new ideas and results: We strengthen the criterion for overlayjoinable noetherian systems, and, by using the expressiveness of our syntactic separation into constructorand non-constructor symbols, we are able to present criteria for level confluence that are not criteria forshallow confluence actually and also able to weaken the severe requirement of normality (stiffened withleft-linearity) in the criteria for shallow confluence of noetherian and non-noetherian conditional systems tothe easily satisfied requirement of quasi-normality. Finally, the whole paper also gives a practically usefuloverview of the syntactic means for showing confluence of conditional term rewriting systems.

We describe a hybrid architecture supporting planning for machining workpieces. The archi- tecture is built around CAPlan, a partial-order nonlinear planner that represents the plan already generated and allows external control decision made by special purpose programs or by the user. To make planning more efficient, the domain is hierarchically modelled. Based on this hierarchical representation, a case-based control component has been realized that allows incremental acquisition of control knowledge by storing solved problems and reusing them in similar situations.

We describe a hybrid case-based reasoning system supporting process planning for machining workpieces. It integrates specialized domain dependent reasoners, a feature-based CAD system and domain independent planning. The overall architecture is build on top of CAPlan, a partial-order nonlinear planner. To use episodic problem solving knowledge for both optimizing plan execution costs and minimizing search the case-based control component CAPlan/CbC has been realized that allows incremental acquisition and reuse of strategical problem solving experience by storing solved problems as cases and reusing them in similar situations. For effective retrieval of cases CAPlan/CbC combines domain-independent and domain-specific retrieval mechanisms that are based on the hierarchical domain model and problem representation.

While most approaches to similarity assessment are oblivious of knowledge and goals, there is ample evidence that these elements of problem solving play an important role in similarity judgements. This paper is concerned with an approach for integrating assessment of similarity into a framework of problem solving that embodies central notions of problem solving like goals, knowledge and learning.

Contrary to symbolic learning approaches, which represent a learned concept explicitly, case-based approaches describe concepts implicitly by a pair (CB; sim), i.e. by a measure of similarity sim and a set CB of cases. This poses the question if there are any differences concerning the learning power of the two approaches. In this article we will study the relationship between the case base, the measure of similarity, and the target concept of the learning process. To do so, we transform a simple symbolic learning algorithm (the version space algorithm) into an equivalent case- based variant. The achieved results strengthen the hypothesis of the equivalence of the learning power of symbolic and case-based methods and show the interdependency between the measure used by a case-based algorithm and the target concept.

One of the problems of autonomous mobile systems is the continuous tracking of position and orientation. In most cases, this problem is solved by dead reckoning, based on measurement of wheel rotations or step counts and step width. Unfortunately dead reckoning leads to accumulation of drift errors and is very sensitive against slippery. In this paper an algorithm for tracking position and orientation is presented being nearly independent from odometry and its problems with slippery. To achieve this results, a rotating range-finder is used, delivering scans of the environmental structure. The properties of this structure are used to match the scans from different locations in order to find their translational and rotational displacement. For this purpose derivatives of range-finder scans are calculated which can be used to find position and orientation by crosscorrelation.

A map for an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) in an indoor environment for the purpose ofcontinuous position and orientation estimation is discussed. Unlike many other approaches, this map is not based on geometrical primitives like lines and polygons. An algorithm is shown , where the sensordata of a laser range finder can be used to establish this map without a geometrical interpretation of the data. This is done by converting single laser radar scans to statistical representations of the environ-ment, so that a crosscorrelation of an actu al converted scan and this representative results into the actual position and orientation in a global coordinate system. The map itsel f is build of representative scansfor the positions where the AMR has been, so that it is able to find its position and orientation by c omparing the actual scan with a scan stored in the map.

We tested the GYROSTAR ENV-05S. This device is a sensor for angular velocity. There- fore the orientation must be calculated by integration of the angular velocity over time. The devices output is a voltage proportional to the angular velocity and relative to a reference. The test where done to find out under which conditions it is possible to use this device for estimation of orientation.

Problem specifications for classical planners based on a STRIPS-like representation typically consist of an initial situation and a partially defined goal state. Hierarchical planning approaches, e.g., Hierarchical Task Network (HTN) Planning, have not only richer representations for actions but also for the representation of planning problems. The latter are defined by giving an initial state and an initial task network in which the goals can be ordered with respect to each other. However, studies with a specification of the domain of process planning for the plan-space planner CAPlan (an extension of SNLP) have shown that even without hierarchical domain representation typical properties called goal orderings can be identified in this domain that allow more efficient and correct case retrieval strategies for the case-based planner CAPlan/CbC. Motivated by that, this report describes an extension of the classical problem specifications for plan-space planners like SNLP and descendants. These extended problem specifications allow to define a partial order on the planning goals which can interpreted as an order in which the solution plan should achieve the goals. These goal ordering can theoretically and empirically be shown to improve planning performance not only for case-based but also for generative planning. As a second but different way we show how goal orderings can be used to address the control problem of partial order planners. These improvements can be best understood with a refinement of Barrett's and Weld's extended taxonomy of subgoal collections.

Real world planning tasks like manufacturing process planning often don't allow to formalize all of the relevant knowledge. Especially, preferences between alternatives are hard to acquire but have high influence on the efficiency of the planning process and the quality of the solution. We describe the essential features of the CAPlan planning architecture that supports cooperative problem solving to narrow the gap caused by absent preference and control knowledge. The architecture combines an SNLP-like base planner with mechanisms for explict representation and maintenance of dependencies between planning decisions. The flexible control interface of CAPlan allows a combination of autonomous and interactive planning in which a user can participate in the problem solving process. Especially, the rejection of arbitrary decisions by a user or dependency-directed backtracking mechanisms are supported by CAPlan.

Software development is becoming a more and more distributed process, which urgently needs supporting tools in the field of configuration management, software process/w orkflow management, communication and problem tracking. In this paper we present a new distributed software configuration management framework COMAND. It offers high availabilit y through replication and a mechanism to easily change and adapt the project structure to new business needs. To better understand and formally prove some properties of COMAND, we have modeled it in a formal technique based on distributed graph transformations. This formalism provides an intuitive rule-based description technique mainly for the dynamic behavior of the system on an abstract level. We use it here to model the replication subsystem.

Orderings on polynomial interpretations of operators represent a powerful technique for proving thetermination of rewriting systems. One of the main problems of polynomial orderings concerns thechoice of the right interpretation for a given rewriting system. It is very difficult to develop techniquesfor solving this problem. Here, we present three new heuristic approaches: (i) guidelines for dealingwith special classes of rewriting systems, (ii) an algorithm for choosing appropriate special polynomialsas well as (iii) an extension of the original polynomial ordering which supports the generation ofsuitable interpretations. All these heuristics will be applied to examples in order to illustrate theirpractical relevance.

An important property and also a crucial point ofa term rewriting system is its termination. Transformation or-derings, developed by Bellegarde & Lescanne strongly based on awork of Bachmair & Dershowitz, represent a general technique forextending orderings. The main characteristics of this method aretwo rewriting relations, one for transforming terms and the otherfor ensuring the well-foundedness of the ordering. The centralproblem of this approach concerns the choice of the two relationssuch that the termination of a given term rewriting system can beproved. In this communication, we present a heuristic-based al-gorithm that partially solves this problem. Furthermore, we showhow to simulate well-known orderings on strings by transformationorderings.

It is generally agreed that one of the most challenging issues facing the case-based reasoning community is that of adaptation. To date the lion's share of CBR research has concentrated on the retrieval of similar cases, and the result is a wide range of quality retrieval techniques. However, retrieval is just the first part of the CBR equation, because once a similar case has been retrieved it must be adapted. Adaptation research is still in its earliest stages, and researchers are still trying to properly understand and formulate the important issues. In this paper I describe a treatment of adaptation in the context of a case-based reasoning system for software design, called Deja Vu. Deja Vu is particularly interesting, not only because it performs automatic adaptation of retrieved cases, but also because it uses a variety of techniques to try and reduce and predict the degree of adaptation necessary.

The multiple-view modeling of a product in a design context is discussed in this paper. We study the existing approaches for multiple-view modeling of a product and we give a brief analysis of them. Then we propose our approach which incorporates the multiple-model approach in STEP standard current works based on a single model. We propose a meta-model inspired by this approach for a multiple-view design environment. Next, we validate this meta-model with a case study. Finally we conclude and give some perspectives of this work. Keywords: product data modeling, multiple-view modeling, product data integration, STEP, functional model.

We present a mathematical knowledge base containing the factual know-ledge of the first of three parts of a textbook on semi-groups and automata,namely "P. Deussen: Halbgruppen und Automaten". Like almost all math-ematical textbooks this textbook is not self-contained, but there are somealgebraic and set-theoretical concepts not being explained. These concepts areadded to the knowledge base. Furthermore there is knowledge about the nat-ural numbers, which is formalized following the first paragraph of "E. Landau:Grundlagen der Analysis".The data base is written in a sorted higher-order logic, a variant of POST ,the working language of the proof development environment OmegaGamma mkrp. We dis-tinguish three different types of knowledge: axioms, definitions, and theorems.Up to now, there are only 2 axioms (natural numbers and cardinality), 149definitions (like that for a semi-group), and 165 theorems. The consistency ofsuch knowledge bases cannot be proved in general, but inconsistencies may beimported only by the axioms. Definitions and theorems should not lead to anyinconsistency since definitions form conservative extensions and theorems areproved to be consequences.

The paper shows that characterizing the causal relationship between significant events is an important but non-trivial aspect for understanding the behavior of distributed programs. An introduction to the notion of causality and its relation to logical time is given; some fundamental results concerning the characterization of causality are pre- sented. Recent work on the detection of causal relationships in distributed computations is surveyed. The relative merits and limitations of the different approaches are discussed, and their general feasibility is analyzed.

The task of handling non-rigid one-dimensional objects by a robot manipulation system is investigated. Especially, approaches to calculate motions with specific behavior in point contacts between the object and environment are regarded. For single point contacts, motions based on generalized rotations solving the direct and inverse manipulation problem are investigated. The latter problem is additionally tackled by simple rotation and translation motions. For double and multiple point contacts, motions based on Splines are suggested. In experimental results with steel springs, the predicted and measured effect for each approach are compared.

Manipulating Deformable Linear Objects: Manipulation Skill for Active Damping of Oscillations
(2002)

While handling deformable linear objects (DLOs), such as hoses, wires or leaf springs, with an industrial robot at high speed, unintended and undesired oscillations that delay further operations may occur. This paper analyzes oscillations based on a simple model with one degree of freedom (DOF) and presents a method for active open-loop damping. Different ways to interpret an oscillating DLO as a system with 1 DOF lead to translational and rotational adjustment motions. Both were implemented as a manipulation skill with a sepa-rate program that can be executed immediately after any robot motion. We showed how these manipulation skills can generate the needed adjustment motions automatically based on the readings of a wrist-mounted force/torque sensor. Experiments demonstrated the effectiveness under various conditions.

We first show that ground term-rewriting systems can be completed in apolynomial number of rewriting steps, if the appropriate data structure for termsis used. We then apply this result to study the lengths of critical pair proofs innon-ground systems, and obtain bounds on the lengths of critical pair proofsin the non-ground case. We show how these bounds depend on the types ofinference steps that are allowed in the proofs.

We will answer a question posed in [DJK91], and will show that Huet's completion algorithm [Hu81] becomes incomplete, i.e. it may generate a term rewriting system that is not confluent, if it is modified in a way that the reduction ordering used for completion can be changed during completion provided that the new ordering is compatible with the actual rules. In particular, we will show that this problem may not only arise if the modified completion algorithm does not terminate: Even if the algorithm terminates without failure, the generated finite noetherian term rewriting system may be non-confluent. Most existing implementations of the Knuth-Bendix algorithm provide the user with help in choosing a reduction ordering: If an unorientable equation is encountered, then the user has many options, especially, the one to orient the equation manually. The integration of this feature is based on the widespread assumption that, if equations are oriented by hand during completion and the completion process terminates with success, then the generated finite system is a maybe non terminating but locally confluent system (see e.g. [KZ89]). Our examples will show that this assumption is not true.

Rules are an important knowledge representation formalism in constructive problem solving. On the other hand, object orientation is an essential key technology for maintaining large knowledge bases as well as software applications. Trying to take advantage of the benefits of both paradigms, we integrated Prolog and Smalltalk to build a common base architecture for problem solving. This approach has proven to be useful in the development of two knowledge-based systems for planning and configuration design (CAPlan and Idax). Both applications use Prolog as an efficient computational source for the evaluation of knowledge represented as rules.

A new approach for modelling time that does not rely on the concept of a clock is proposed. In order to establish a notion of time, system behaviour is represented as a joint progression of multiple threads of control, which satisfies a certain set of axioms. We show that the clock-independent time model is related to the well-known concept of a global clock and argue that both approaches establish the same notion of time.

Patdex is an expert system which carries out case-based reasoning for the fault diagnosis of complex machines. It is integrated in the Moltke workbench for technical diagnosis, which was developed at the university of Kaiserslautern over the past years, Moltke contains other parts as well, in particular a model-based approach; in Patdex where essentially the heuristic features are located. The use of cases also plays an important role for knowledge acquisition. In this paper we describe Patdex from a principal point of view and embed its main concepts into a theoretical framework.