Abstraction is one of the most promising approaches to improve the performance of problem solvers. In several domains abstraction by dropping sentences of a domain description - as used in most hierarchical planners - has proven useful. In this paper we present examples which illustrate significant drawbacks of abstraction by dropping sentences. To overcome these drawbacks, we propose a more general view of abstraction involving the change of representation language. We have developed a new abstraction methodology and a related sound and complete learning algorithm that allows the complete change of representation language of planning cases from concrete to abstract. However, to achieve a powerful change of the representation language, the abstract language itself as well as rules which describe admissible ways of abstracting states must be provided in the domain model. This new abstraction approach is the core of PARIS (Plan Abstraction and Refinement in an Integrated System), a system in which abstract planning cases are automatically learned from given concrete cases. An empirical study in the domain of process planning in mechanical engineering shows significant advantages of the proposed reasoning from abstract cases over classical hierarchical planning.^
INRECA offers tools and methods for developing, validating, and maintaining classification, diagnosis and decision support systems. INRECA's basic technologies are inductive and case-based reasoning . INRECA fully integrates  both techniques within one environment and uses the respective advantages of both technologies. Its object-oriented representation language CASUEL [10, 3] allows the definition of complex case structures, relations, similarity measures, as well as background knowledge to be used for adaptation. The objectoriented representation language makes INRECA a domain independent tool for its destined kind of tasks. When problems are solved via case-based reasoning, the primary kind of knowledge that is used during problem solving is the very specific knowledge contained in the cases. However, in many situations this specific knowledge by itself is not sufficient or appropriate to cope with all requirements of an application. Very often, background knowledge is available and/or necessary to better explore and interpret the available cases . Such general knowledge may state dependencies between certain case features and can be used to infer additional, previously unknown features from the known ones.
In this paper, we propose the PARIS approach for improving complex problem solving by learning from previous cases. In this approach, abstract planning cases are learned from given concrete cases. For this purpose, we have developed a new abstraction methodology that allows to completely change the representation language of a planning case, when the concrete and abstract languages are given by the user. Furthermore, we present a learning algorithm which is correct and complete with respect to the introduced model. An empirical study in the domain of process planning in mechanical engineering shows significant improvements in planning efficiency through learning abstract cases while an explanation-based learning method only causes a very slight improvement.
Case-based problem solving can be significantly improved by applying domain knowledge (in opposition to problem solving knowledge), which can be acquired with reasonable effort, to derive explanations of the correctness of a case. Such explanations, constructed on several levels of abstraction, can be employed as the basis for similarity assessment as well as for adaptation by solution refinement. The general approach for explanation-based similarity can be applied to different real world problem solving tasks such as diagnosis and planning in technical areas. This paper presents the general idea as well as the two specific, completely implemented realizations for a diagnosis and a planning task.