Structured Evidential Argumentation System


SEAS is well received by system administrators because

SEAS Architecture

SEAS is implemented as a web server that supports the construction and exploitation of a corporate memory filled with analytic products, methods, and their interrelationships, indexed by the situations to which they apply. Objects from this corporate memory are viewed and edited through the use of a standard browser client, with the SEAS server producing ephemeral HTML based upon the contents of the SEAS knowledge base that constitutes corporate memory. The foundation of this corporate memory is an ontology of arguments and situations that includes three main types of formal objects: argument templates, arguments, and situation descriptors. Roughly speaking, an argument template records an analytic method as a hierarchically structured set of interrelated questions, an argument instantiates an argument template by answering the questions posed relative to a specific situation in the world, and situation descriptors characterize the type of situations for which the argument templates were designed and the specific situations that arguments address.

SEAS is built upon a foundation composed of the following systems:

ALP, Gister, Grasper, & Ocelot/Perk

  • Artificial Intelligence Center, SRI International, 333 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Allegro Common Lisp & AllegroServe

GD Library

The high level architecture of SEAS is pictured above. SEAS consists of the SEAS Server connected to the SEAS Corporate Memory. The SEAS Server is a web server that takes in HTTP and produces HTML based upon the contents of Corporate Memory.

TIP: Click on the components in this image to go to their corresponding web site.

The SEAS server is built on top of the AllegroServe web server developed by Franz Inc.. This is an HTTP server written in Common Lisp. Since our other components are written in Common Lisp (e.g., Ocelot [PLK], Gister [LGS, Low], and Grasper [KLSW]) this provided an ideal basis for the development of the SEAS Server. The HTML Generator creates HTML pages on the fly upon request, utilizing the ALP (Active Lisp Pages) scripting environment for creating dynamic pages and Grasper for creating graphical depictions of SEAS arguments and templates; GD is used to produce images of the Grasper graphical depictions. AllegroServe parses the HTTP requests and calls upon the HTML Generator to create pages that are then returned to the requesters by AllegroServe. The pages are generated by consulting the SEAS Corporate Memory Manager which in turn consults the SEAS Corporate Memory stored in the Ocelot KBMS. It connects to a KBMS via the OKBC API [CFFKR]. If the request changes the answer to some question in an argument, the Gister Engine is invoked to update related answers in that argument in the KB. The Ocelot/Perk knowledge base management system is a KB management system server with OKBC as its API. It optionally connects to the DBMS Server via SQL; otherwise Ocelot stores the KB as a file in the system file.

What happens when the user clicks on a light to answer a question?

  1. AllegroServe receives an HTTP command from the Browser client, calls
  2. SEAS HTML Generator: interprets the command as a change in the answer to an argument question, calls
  3. SEAS Corporate Memory Manager: updates the answer to the question in the KB, calls
  4. Ocelot KBMS: changes slot value in KB frame that represents question answer, calls
  5. Perk Storage System: moves KB frame to and from memory from DB, calls
  6. DBMS: retrieves and updates DB to reflect changes in KB frames
  7. Gister Engine: called by SEAS Corporate Memory Manager to calculate related answers in the argument
  8. SEAS Corporate Memory Manager: updates related answers, as dictated by Gister Engine, using Ocelot, PERK, and DBMS
  9. Grasper: called by SEAS HTML Generator to produce summary graphics (e.g., starburst) based on KB contents
  10. SEAS HTML Generator: produces HTML that portrays argument in KB
  11. AllegroServe: sends HTML back to the client

[CFFKR] Vinay K. Chaudhri, Adam Farquhar, Richard Fikes, Peter D. Karp, and James P. Rice, "OKBC: A Programmatic Foundation for Knowledge Base Interoperability," in Proceedings of National Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 1998.

[KCP] Peter D. Karp and Vinay K. Chaudhri and Suzanne M. Paley, "A Collaborative Environment for Authoring Large Knowledge Bases," in Journal of Intelligent Information Systems, 1999, Vol. 13, pp. 155-194.

[KLSW] Peter D. Karp, John D. Lowrance, Thomas M. Strat, and David E. Wilkins, "The Grasper-CL Graph Management System," in LISP and Symbolic Computation: An International Journal, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994, Vol. 7, pp. 251-290.

[LGS] John D. Lowrance, Thomas D. Garvey, and Thomas M. Strat, "A Framework for Evidential-Reasoning Systems," Uncertain Reasoning, Ed. Glenn Shafer and Judea Pearl, Morgan Kaufman Publishers, Inc., 1990, pp. 611-618.

[Low] John D. Lowrance, "Automated Argument Construction," Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, vol. 20, 1988.

GD Library Copyright

Portions copyright 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Funded under Grant P41-RR02188 by the National Institutes of Health.

Portions copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Boutell.Com, Inc.

Portions relating to GD2 format copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Philip Warner.

Portions relating to PNG copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Greg Roelofs.

Portions relating to gdttf.c copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 John Ellson (

Portions relating to gdft.c copyright 2001, 2002 John Ellson (

Portions relating to JPEG and to color quantization copyright 2000, 2001, 2002, Doug Becker and copyright (C) 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, Thomas G. Lane. This software is based in part on the work of the Independent JPEG Group. See the file README-JPEG.TXT for more information.

Portions relating to WBMP copyright 2000, 2001, 2002 Maurice Szmurlo and Johan Van den Brande.

Permission has been granted to copy, distribute and modify gd in any context without fee, including a commercial application, provided that this notice is present in user-accessible supporting documentation.

This does not affect your ownership of the derived work itself, and the intent is to assure proper credit for the authors of gd, not to interfere with your productive use of gd. If you have questions, ask. "Derived works" includes all programs that utilize the library. Credit must be given in user-accessible documentation.

This software is provided "AS IS." The copyright holders disclaim all warranties, either express or implied, including but not limited to implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to this code and accompanying documentation.

Although their code does not appear in gd 2.0.4, the authors wish to thank David Koblas, David Rowley, and Hutchison Avenue Software Corporation for their prior contributions.

SEAS, High SEAS, Structured Evidential Argumentation System, and SRI Early Alert System, are trademarks of SRI International.
Copyright © 2000-2008 SRI International, 333 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025 USA. All rights reserved.
Patent Pending and Unpublished Copyright © 1998-2008, SRI International.