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Computational Approaches to Creativity Through Goal-Directed Cross-Domain Analogy

Langley, Pat
Arizona State University

As human reliance on computational tools increases, there is a critical need to support not only routine tasks but also creative activities. The aims of this research are to increase our understanding of the computational character of creative cognition and to transform this understanding into artifacts that support the creative processes in humans. We will focus on the use and retrieval of cross-domain analogies, an ability that has been implicated in creative cognition.

Intellectual Merit: The proposed research will produce a new class of methods that exhibit computational creativity through cross-domain analogy and that involve a novel combination of two ideas. One is that the processes of analogical mapping and retrieval are goal directed, which places strong constraints on their operation. The other is that problem statements and solutions are indexed by abstract schemas that support the retrieval of relevant structures even when they have minimal surface similarity. Together, these assumptions should support robust retrieval and mapping of cross-domain analogies, which in turn should lead to novel software tools that aid human creativity.

Broader Impacts: The results of this research will be integrated into existing senior/graduate level courses on information retrieval and cognitive systems. Although the primary focus is on scientific creativity, the same mechanisms and techniques will prove useful in a variety of goal-directed settings that involve computer-mediated creative work, including many aspects of design. In addition to publishing scientific papers on the results of our research, the software for analogical mapping and retrieval will be available to the broader scientific community. In the longer term, the techniques for indexing structures in terms of abstract schemas have considerable potential for aiding the design process and for improving search for content on the World Wide Web.

Last modified 16 August 2007 at 6:46 am by haleden