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Last edited 26 Apr 2021
Case-based reasoning CBR
Case-based reasoning (CBR) is a type of problem solving based on precedents. It uses experiences to deal with - and successfully resolve - similar situations. It is a technique commonly used in legal situations, but it can also be used in engineering, construction and design.
One of the earliest instances of CBR appeared in the work of Roger Schank, an American educator, psychologist and consultant whose work at Yale University in the 1980s resulted in a model of dynamic memory. He was also involved in the exploration of artificial intelligence (AI) during his tenure at Yale and later went on to become co-founder of an early AI company.
Schank’s work in CBR influenced developments in other areas and became more widely adopted in the 1990s. It has since been used in computer modelling of industrial components and the healthcare field.
 The four “Rs” of CBR
There are generally four phases of CBR:
- Retrieval. Pulling relevant information from the past.
- Reuse. Exploring how that retrieved information can be applied to the new scenario.
- Revision. Testing the proposed solution against the new scenario; this is repeated until the solution produces the appropriate results.
- Retention. Saving the successful solution for possible future use.
Over the years, CBR has evolved into an effective method for exploring situations - particularly those related to engineering and design - where both the details of the task and the expertise might be lacking. Because the field of design can be complex and abstract, CBR may provide the problem solving tools to retrieve starting points and precedents to serve as the basis for design solutions.
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