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Indirect Effects

The performance of an action may cause the proliferation of many implicit consequences. Representing all the implicit consequences as part of the specification of an action is not feasible because such consequences can be very large in number. For instance, kicking a ball may result in the change of location of not only the ball, but also those particles of dust and grass that stick to the ball and those that the shoe brushes while kicking; other effects include the dirt on the shoes and the calories burned. The problem of describing indirect effects or the implicit consequences of performing actions is known as the ramification problem [Fin87].

Darsana Josyula 2006-01-16