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CAUSE Logo We are investigating the use of formal languages to represent causal reasoning, especially as used in accident and incident reporting. This work will evaluate the suitability of using one or more existing mathematical representations of causality as the basis for developing tools for (1) explaining causes and contributing factors to mishaps, (2) analyzing causal explanations for consistency, completeness, and other desired characteristics, (3) storing causal explanations for retrieval, and (4) using previously stored causal explanations in the design of new systems. The anticipation is that an adequate representation will require integration of logical, linguistic, and graphical notations. If a suitable representation can be developed, then appropriate prototype tools based on that representation will be developed. The purpose of the work is to improve understanding of why particular mishaps occur, and to improve the probability that the lessons taught by mishaps will be lessons learned. The approach is to build on the pioneering work of people such as Chris Johnson link to external site and Peter Ladkin link to external site.

Papers produced as part of the CAUSE project include the following:

The leader of this project, C. Michael Holloway began a research sabbatical on October 1, 2003, as a NASA Langley Floyd Thompson Fellowship recipient. Mr. Holloway was the general chair of the 2003 Workshop on the Investigation and Reporting of Incidents and Accidents (IRIA 2003) and a member of the program committee for IRIA 2002 link to external site, which was held 17-20 July 2002 at the University of Glasgow.

This research was part of a larger effort within the Engineering for Complex Systems Program to improve mishap investigations and reporting. This news release from Ames Research Center describes some of the other ECS-sponsored work.

Note: The link to external site tag identifies links that are outside of the NASA domain.


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last modified: 20 October 2004 (15:33:03)