A therapy planning architecture that combines decision theory and artificial intelligence techniques

Comput Biomed Res. 1987 Jun;20(3):279-303. doi: 10.1016/0010-4809(87)90059-0.


Through our experience with the ONCOCIN cancer therapy consultation system, we have identified a set of medical planning problems to which no single existing computer-based reasoning technique readily applies. In response to the need for automated assistance with this class of problems, we have devised a computer program called ONYX that combines decision-theoretic and artificial intelligence approaches to planning. We discuss our rationale for devising a new planning architecture and describe in detail how that architecture is implemented. The program's planning process consists of three steps: (i) the use of rules derived from therapy planning strategies to generate a small set of plausible plans, (ii) the use of knowledge about the structure and behavior of the human body to create simulations that predict possible consequences of each plan for the patient, and (iii) the use of decision theory to rank the plans according to how well the results of each simulation meet the treatment goals. This architecture explicitly manages the uncertainty inherent in many planning tasks, introduces a possible mechanism for the dissemination of decision-theoretic therapy advice, and potentially increases the number of problem solving domains in which expert system techniques can be effectively applied.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Decision Theory*
  • Planning Techniques
  • Software Design
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted*