B. J. Kuipers. 1986.
**
Qualitative simulation.**

*Artificial Intelligence* **2**9: 289-338, 1986.

#### Abstract

Qualitative simulation is a key inference process in qualitative
causal reasoning. However, the precise meaning of the different
proposals and their relation with differential equations is often
unclear. in this paper, we present a precise definition of
qualitative structure and behavior descriptions as abstractions of
differential equations and continuously differentiable functions. We
present a new algorithm for qualitative simulation that generalizes
the best features of existing algorithms, and allows direct comparisons
among alternate approaches. Starting with a set of constraints
abstracted from a differential equation, we prove that the QSIM
algorithm is guaranteed to produce a qualitative behavior
corresponding to any solution to the original equation. We also show
that any qualitative simulation algorithm will sometimes produce
spurious qualitative behaviors: ones which do not correspond to any
mechanism satisfying the given constraints. These observations
suggest specific types of care that must be taken in designing
applications of qualitative causal reasoning systems, and in
constructing and validating a knowledge base of mechanism
descriptions.

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#### Retrospective

In 1993, this paper was honored as one of the 25 most-cited papers in
the first 50 volumes of the *Artificial Intelligence Journal*.
A retrospective on this research was published in a special issue.

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BJK