Frame problem

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In artificial intelligence, the frame problem was initially formulated as the problem of expressing a dynamical domain in logic without explicitly specifying which conditions are not affected by an action. John McCarthy and Patrick J. Hayes defined this problem in their 1969 article, Some Philosophical Problems from the Standpoint of Artificial Intelligence. Later, the term acquired a broader meaning in philosophy, where it is formulated as the problem of limiting the beliefs that have to be updated in response to actions.

The name "frame problem" derives from a common technique used by animated cartoon makers called framing where the currently moving parts of the cartoon are superimposed on the "frame," which depicts the background of the scene, which does not change. In the logical context, actions are typically specified by what they change, with the implicit assumption that everything else (the frame) remains unchanged.


The frame problem in artificial intelligence

The frame problem occurs even in very simple domains. A scenario with a door, which can be open or closed, and a light, which can be on or off, is statically represented by two propositions open and on. If these conditions can change, they are better represented by two predicates open(t) and on(t) that depend on time; such predicates are called fluents. A domain in which the door is closed, the light is off, and the door is opened at time 1 can be directly represented in logic by the following formulae:

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