Learning Qualitative Models of Dynamic Systems

David T. Hau*, Enrico W. Coiera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The automated construction of dynamic system models is an important application area for ILP. We describe a method that learns qualitative models from time-varying physiological signals. The goal is to understand the complexity of the learning task when faced with numerical data, what signal processing techniques are required, and how this affects learning. The qualitative representation is based on Kuipers' QSIM. The learning algorithm for model construction is based on Coiera's GENMODEL. We show that QSIM models are efficiently PAC learnable from positive examples only, and that GENMODEL is an ILP algorithm for efficiently constructing a QSIM model. We describe both GENMODEL which performs RLGG on qualitative states to learn a QSIM model, and the front-end processing and segmenting stages that transform a signal into a set of qualitative states. Next we describe results of experiments on data from six cardiac bypass patients. Useful models were obtained, representing both normal and abnormal physiological states. Model variation across time and across different levels of temporal abstraction and fault tolerance is explored. The assumption made by many previous workers that the abstraction of examples from data can be separated from the learning task is not supported by this study. Firstly, the effects of noise in the numerical data manifest themselves in the qualitative examples. Secondly, the models learned are directly dependent on the initial qualitative abstraction chosen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-211
Number of pages35
JournalMachine Learning
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


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