Title:

Kind
Code:

A1

Abstract:

A malfunction condition judgment apparatus (MCJA) that judges malfunction condition (MC) of an observed object based on a change of observed values. The MCJA acquires time series data for values of each of a plurality of variables; calculates, with respect to each of the variables, a statistic defining a probability density function of that variable at T1, based on the value of that variable at T1 and that statistic at a point of time prior to T1; calculates dissimilarity showing an extent of variation between the statistic calculated for each variable and a statistic of a criterial probability density function predetermined corresponding to that variable; and picks, out of the plurality of variables, a variable for which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than a predetermined reference value, as the variable by which MC of the observation object is detected.

Inventors:

Ide, Tsuyoshi (Kanagawa-ken, JP)

Application Number:

12/206901

Publication Date:

01/08/2009

Filing Date:

09/09/2008

Export Citation:

Assignee:

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION (Armonk, NY, US)

Primary Class:

International Classes:

View Patent Images:

Related US Applications:

Primary Examiner:

COUGHLAN, PETER D

Attorney, Agent or Firm:

SHIMOKAJI & ASSOCIATES, P.C. (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, US)

Claims:

1. **1**-**16**. (canceled)

17. A malfunction condition judgment apparatus that judges a malfunction condition of an observed object based on a change of observed values observed from the observation object, comprising: an acquiring unit operable to acquire time series data of values for each of a plurality of variables that has a plurality of observed values observed from the observation object as a value; a statistic computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, a statistic defining a probability density function of that variable at a point of time (T1), by adding into a value where the statistic at the prior time to T1 is subtracted by a value obtained by multiplying a forgetting rate set corresponding to the variable at the prior time to said point of time, a value where a value of the variable at T1 is multiplied by said forgetting rate; a dissimilarity computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, dissimilarity showing an extent of variation between the statistic calculated for that variable and a statistic of a criterial probability density function predetermined corresponding to that variable; an extracting unit operable to pick up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than a predetermined reference value, as the variable by which malfunction condition of the observed object is detected; and a forgetting rate setting unit operable to set a forgetting rate with respect to each of the variables in a manner that, in a case where an updating frequency at which that variable is updated in a unit time is higher, the forgetting rate is set lower than in a case where the updating frequency is lower.

18. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 17, further comprising: a judging unit operable to judge that a malfunction condition has occurred in a portion that is an observed object of observed values held by the picked up variable, among the observation objects.

19. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 18, further comprising: a change-point detecting unit operable to detect a change-point indicating a point of time when a changing pattern of values of at least one of the picked up variables changes; and an associated variable selecting unit operable to select a set of variables having change-points, detected by the change-point detecting unit, which are similar to one another, wherein the judge unit judges the set of variables selected by the associated variable selecting unit to be a set of variables indicating a portion that is a cause of malfunction condition.

20. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 17, wherein the statistic computing unit calculates, as a statistic of each of the variables, at least one cumulant of the probability density function at T1; and the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as the dissimilarity, an extent of variation between the calculated cumulant and a cumulant predetermined with respect to the criterial probability density function.

21. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 20, wherein the statistic computing unit calculates, with respect to each of the variables, as the statistic, kurtosis and skew of the probability density function at T1; and the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as the dissimilarity, at least the extent of variation between the calculated kurtosis or skew and a kurtosis or a skew predetermined with respect to the criterial probability density function.

22. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 21, wherein the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as the dissimilarity, differences of the kurtosis and skew calculated by the statistic computing unit respectively from kurtosis and skew in a normal distribution function; and the extracting unit picks up a variable in which at least any one of the differences of the kurtosis and skew is larger than a predetermined criterion.

23. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 22, further comprising: a reference statistic recording unit operable to record therein predetermined criterial kurtosis and skew in a manner that the criterial kurtosis and skew correspond to each of the plurality of variables, wherein the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as the dissimilarity, difference values of the kurtosis and skew calculated by the statistic computing unit respectively from the kurtosis and skew recorded in the reference statistic recording unit.

24. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 21, wherein the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as dissimilarity, differences of the kurtosis and skew calculated by the statistic computing unit respectively from kurtosis and skew in a predetermined discrete value function that has discrete values as a value; and the extracting unit picks up a variable in which at least any one of the differences of the kurtosis and skew calculated by the dissimilarity computing unit is larger than a predetermined criterion thereof.

25. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 20, wherein the statistic computing unit calculates a second-order cumulant; the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as the dissimilarity, differences of the second-order cumulant calculated by the statistic computing unit from a second-order cumulant in a predetermined constant function that has a constant as a value; and the extracting unit picks up a variable in which the difference of the second-order cumulant calculated by the dissimilarity computing unit is larger than a predetermined criterion therefore.

26. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 17, wherein the acquiring unit acquires time series data for each of the variables by monitoring a bus that connects a plurality of observation sensors to one another and thereby sequentially acquiring observed values stored in communication packets transferred through the bus.

27. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 17, wherein each of the plurality of variable has, as a variable value, observed values observed from each different portion of one automobile; and the extracting unit picks up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than the predetermined reference value, as the variable by which malfunction condition of the automobile is detected.

28. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 17, wherein each of the plurality of variables has, as a variable value, observed values observed from each different portion of a single individual that is an object of diagnosis; and the extracting unit picks up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than the predetermined reference value, as the variable by which the malfunction condition of the individual is detected.

29. An automobile including a plurality of observation sensors connected to one another through a single bus, and a malfunction condition judgment apparatus that judges a malfunction condition based on a change of observed values acquired from the plurality of observation sensors, comprising: an acquiring unit operable to acquire time series data of values for each of a plurality of variables that has a plurality of observed values observed from the observation object as a value; a statistic computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, a statistic defining a probability density function of that variable at a point of time (T1), by adding into a value where the statistic at the prior time to T1 is subtracted by a value obtained by multiplying a forgetting rate set corresponding to the variable at the prior time to said point of time, a value where a value of the variable at T1 is multiplied by said forgetting rate; a dissimilarity computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, dissimilarity showing an extent of variation between the statistic calculated for that variable and a statistic of a criterial probability density function predetermined corresponding to that variable; an extracting unit operable to pick up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than a predetermined reference value, as the variable by which malfunction condition of the observed object is detected; and a forgetting rate setting unit operable to set a forgetting rate with respect to each of the variables in a manner that, in a case where an updating frequency at which that variable is updated in a unit time is higher, the forgetting rate is set lower than in a case where the updating frequency is lower.

30. The automobile according to claim 29, wherein the malfunction condition judgment apparatus is provided so as to be attachable to and detachable from the automobile.

31. A program that causes an information processing apparatus to function as a malfunction condition judgment apparatus that judges a malfunction condition of an observed object based on a change of observed values observed from the observation object, causing the information processing apparatus to function as: an acquiring unit operable to acquire time series data of values for each of a plurality of variables that has a plurality of observed values observed from the observation object as a value; a statistic computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, a statistic defining a probability density function of that variable at a point of time (T1), by adding into a value where the statistic at the prior time to T1 is subtracted by a value obtained by multiplying a forgetting rate set corresponding to the variable at the prior time to said point of time, a value where a value of the variable at T1 is multiplied by said forgetting rate; a dissimilarity computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, dissimilarity showing an extent of variation between the statistic calculated for that variable and a statistic of a criterial probability density function predetermined corresponding to that variable; an extracting unit operable to pick up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than a predetermined reference value, as the variable by which malfunction condition of the observed object is detected; and a forgetting rate setting unit operable to set a forgetting rate with respect to each of the variables in a manner that, in a case where an updating frequency at which that variable is updated in a unit time is higher, the forgetting rate is set lower than in a case where the updating frequency is lower.

17. A malfunction condition judgment apparatus that judges a malfunction condition of an observed object based on a change of observed values observed from the observation object, comprising: an acquiring unit operable to acquire time series data of values for each of a plurality of variables that has a plurality of observed values observed from the observation object as a value; a statistic computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, a statistic defining a probability density function of that variable at a point of time (T1), by adding into a value where the statistic at the prior time to T1 is subtracted by a value obtained by multiplying a forgetting rate set corresponding to the variable at the prior time to said point of time, a value where a value of the variable at T1 is multiplied by said forgetting rate; a dissimilarity computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, dissimilarity showing an extent of variation between the statistic calculated for that variable and a statistic of a criterial probability density function predetermined corresponding to that variable; an extracting unit operable to pick up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than a predetermined reference value, as the variable by which malfunction condition of the observed object is detected; and a forgetting rate setting unit operable to set a forgetting rate with respect to each of the variables in a manner that, in a case where an updating frequency at which that variable is updated in a unit time is higher, the forgetting rate is set lower than in a case where the updating frequency is lower.

18. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 17, further comprising: a judging unit operable to judge that a malfunction condition has occurred in a portion that is an observed object of observed values held by the picked up variable, among the observation objects.

19. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 18, further comprising: a change-point detecting unit operable to detect a change-point indicating a point of time when a changing pattern of values of at least one of the picked up variables changes; and an associated variable selecting unit operable to select a set of variables having change-points, detected by the change-point detecting unit, which are similar to one another, wherein the judge unit judges the set of variables selected by the associated variable selecting unit to be a set of variables indicating a portion that is a cause of malfunction condition.

20. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 17, wherein the statistic computing unit calculates, as a statistic of each of the variables, at least one cumulant of the probability density function at T1; and the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as the dissimilarity, an extent of variation between the calculated cumulant and a cumulant predetermined with respect to the criterial probability density function.

21. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 20, wherein the statistic computing unit calculates, with respect to each of the variables, as the statistic, kurtosis and skew of the probability density function at T1; and the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as the dissimilarity, at least the extent of variation between the calculated kurtosis or skew and a kurtosis or a skew predetermined with respect to the criterial probability density function.

22. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 21, wherein the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as the dissimilarity, differences of the kurtosis and skew calculated by the statistic computing unit respectively from kurtosis and skew in a normal distribution function; and the extracting unit picks up a variable in which at least any one of the differences of the kurtosis and skew is larger than a predetermined criterion.

23. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 22, further comprising: a reference statistic recording unit operable to record therein predetermined criterial kurtosis and skew in a manner that the criterial kurtosis and skew correspond to each of the plurality of variables, wherein the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as the dissimilarity, difference values of the kurtosis and skew calculated by the statistic computing unit respectively from the kurtosis and skew recorded in the reference statistic recording unit.

24. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 21, wherein the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as dissimilarity, differences of the kurtosis and skew calculated by the statistic computing unit respectively from kurtosis and skew in a predetermined discrete value function that has discrete values as a value; and the extracting unit picks up a variable in which at least any one of the differences of the kurtosis and skew calculated by the dissimilarity computing unit is larger than a predetermined criterion thereof.

25. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 20, wherein the statistic computing unit calculates a second-order cumulant; the dissimilarity computing unit calculates, as the dissimilarity, differences of the second-order cumulant calculated by the statistic computing unit from a second-order cumulant in a predetermined constant function that has a constant as a value; and the extracting unit picks up a variable in which the difference of the second-order cumulant calculated by the dissimilarity computing unit is larger than a predetermined criterion therefore.

26. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 17, wherein the acquiring unit acquires time series data for each of the variables by monitoring a bus that connects a plurality of observation sensors to one another and thereby sequentially acquiring observed values stored in communication packets transferred through the bus.

27. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 17, wherein each of the plurality of variable has, as a variable value, observed values observed from each different portion of one automobile; and the extracting unit picks up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than the predetermined reference value, as the variable by which malfunction condition of the automobile is detected.

28. The malfunction condition judgment apparatus according to claim 17, wherein each of the plurality of variables has, as a variable value, observed values observed from each different portion of a single individual that is an object of diagnosis; and the extracting unit picks up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than the predetermined reference value, as the variable by which the malfunction condition of the individual is detected.

29. An automobile including a plurality of observation sensors connected to one another through a single bus, and a malfunction condition judgment apparatus that judges a malfunction condition based on a change of observed values acquired from the plurality of observation sensors, comprising: an acquiring unit operable to acquire time series data of values for each of a plurality of variables that has a plurality of observed values observed from the observation object as a value; a statistic computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, a statistic defining a probability density function of that variable at a point of time (T1), by adding into a value where the statistic at the prior time to T1 is subtracted by a value obtained by multiplying a forgetting rate set corresponding to the variable at the prior time to said point of time, a value where a value of the variable at T1 is multiplied by said forgetting rate; a dissimilarity computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, dissimilarity showing an extent of variation between the statistic calculated for that variable and a statistic of a criterial probability density function predetermined corresponding to that variable; an extracting unit operable to pick up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than a predetermined reference value, as the variable by which malfunction condition of the observed object is detected; and a forgetting rate setting unit operable to set a forgetting rate with respect to each of the variables in a manner that, in a case where an updating frequency at which that variable is updated in a unit time is higher, the forgetting rate is set lower than in a case where the updating frequency is lower.

30. The automobile according to claim 29, wherein the malfunction condition judgment apparatus is provided so as to be attachable to and detachable from the automobile.

31. A program that causes an information processing apparatus to function as a malfunction condition judgment apparatus that judges a malfunction condition of an observed object based on a change of observed values observed from the observation object, causing the information processing apparatus to function as: an acquiring unit operable to acquire time series data of values for each of a plurality of variables that has a plurality of observed values observed from the observation object as a value; a statistic computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, a statistic defining a probability density function of that variable at a point of time (T1), by adding into a value where the statistic at the prior time to T1 is subtracted by a value obtained by multiplying a forgetting rate set corresponding to the variable at the prior time to said point of time, a value where a value of the variable at T1 is multiplied by said forgetting rate; a dissimilarity computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, dissimilarity showing an extent of variation between the statistic calculated for that variable and a statistic of a criterial probability density function predetermined corresponding to that variable; an extracting unit operable to pick up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than a predetermined reference value, as the variable by which malfunction condition of the observed object is detected; and a forgetting rate setting unit operable to set a forgetting rate with respect to each of the variables in a manner that, in a case where an updating frequency at which that variable is updated in a unit time is higher, the forgetting rate is set lower than in a case where the updating frequency is lower.

Description:

The present invention relates to a malfunction condition judgment apparatus (hereinafter referred to as MCJA), a control method, an automobile and a program. In particular, the present invention relates to a MCJA, a control method, an automobile and a program that judge malfunction condition (hereinafter MC) having occurred in each of portions of an observation object thereof.

In recent years, electronics in automobiles has been strikingly advanced, and a control of an automobile has come to be performed based on packet communication means such as Control Area Network (CAN). If a communications standard such as one described above is established, it becomes possible to obtain a large number of time series data which changes every moment from individual units of an automobile. Since these time series data are obtained as a result of observing operations of the automobile in detail, these data are expected to be applied to operation analysis, MC detection and the like.

Data obtained by CAN have the following characteristics:

1. The data includes an enormous amount of data. In some cases, data may be obtained for hundreds to thousands of variables.

2. In the data, there are contained control signals, and checksum variables used for error detection are mixed among physical variables whose values are set to be observed values such as revolutions and pressure.

3. Data are obtained at a high frequency at time intervals of 10 milliseconds.

As described above, data obtained by CAN are various and enormous. Accordingly, in many cases, an appropriate analysis cannot be performed in a conventional method where MC is found out by an engineer, visually checking a graphed data. On the other hand, inventors of the present invention proposed a technology for judging, on the basis of the same reference variable called a change-point, changing patterns of a plurality of variables whose kinds are different from one another (see T. Ide and K. Inoue: Knowledge Discovery from Heterogeneous Dynamic Systems using Change-point Correlations, in Proc. 2005 SIAM International Conference on Data Mining (SDM 05, Newport Beach, Calif., USA), Apr. 21-23, 2005). This technology makes MC judgment easy by automatically finding out a combination of variables associated with one another.

However, if the number of variables that are objects of judgment is enormous, an explosion of combinations occurs in some cases, and an enormous amount of time is required for processing the judgment. In these cases, it is impossible to immediately judge MC based on time series data obtained every moment. Furthermore, for the purpose of storing all of time series data obtained from individual portions of an automobile, a storage device having an enormous storage capacity comes to be required. Accordingly, it is preferable that, whenever an observed value is obtained from each of the individual portions of the automobile, merely a variable possible to be used for MC judgment be selected, and merely values of the variable be stored. Note that it is necessary that this selection processing be performed at high speed with a CPU mountable on an automobile and having relatively low computing performance.

Additionally, as one of factors making MC detection of an automobile difficult, impossibility of performing comparative experiments under totally identical conditions can be cited. For example, for the purpose of detecting MC difficult to analyze, an automobile is caused to run on a predetermined test course under a predetermined driving condition. However, even when automobiles are caused to run on a predetermined test course under a predetermined driving condition, there arises dissimilarity between observed values obtained from one individual portion of the automobile due to minute dissimilarity in experimental condition. Accordingly, it is desirable that a variable indicating an occurrence of MC be appropriately selected regardless of the above-described dissimilarity in experimental condition.

Furthermore, as another one of the factors making MC detection of an automobile difficult, difficulty of obtaining detailed information on a design of the automobile can be cited. Because the information on a design of the automobile is one of the most important information for an automobile manufacturing company, the information is, in some cases, confidential not only to those outside the company naturally, but to those inside the company. In these cases, it is often impossible to previously know a range of values held by each of the variables, and meanings of the values. Furthermore, if the automobile is in a development phase or in a modification phase, meanings indicated by the respective variables are frequently changed in many cases. Even in the above-described case where a meaning of each of the variables cannot be previously obtained, it is further preferable that a variable indicating an occurrence of MC be appropriately selected.

Accordingly, an object of this embodiment is to provide a MCJA, a control method, an automobile and a program that are capable of solving the abovementioned problems. This object can be achieved by a combination of characteristics mentioned in independent claims in the scope of claim for patent of the present invention. Dependent claims define further advantageous concrete examples of the present invention.

In order to solve the above-mentioned problems, in the first embodiment of the present invention, a MCJA that judges MC of an observed object based on a change of observed values observed from the observation object, a control method thereof, a program therefor, and the like are provided. The MCJA comprises: an acquiring unit operable to acquire time series data for values of each of a plurality of variables that has a plurality of observed values observed from the observation object as a value; a statistic computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, a statistic defining a probability density function of that variable at a point of time 1 (hereinafter referred to as T1), based on the value of that variable at T1 and that statistic at a point of time prior to T1; a dissimilarity computing unit operable to calculate, with respect to each of the variables, dissimilarity showing an extent of variation between the statistic calculated for that variable and a statistic of a criterial probability density function predetermined corresponding to that variable; and an extracting unit operable to pick up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the calculated dissimilarity is larger than a predetermined reference value, as the variable by which MC of the observation object is detected.

For a more complete understanding of the present invention and the advantage thereof, reference is now made to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 shows an entire configuration of an automobile **10** (hereinafter A**10**).

FIGS. 2A to 2D show examples of observed values inputted by a MCJA **30**.

FIG. 3 shows functions of the MCJA **30** by way of functional blocks.

FIG. 4 shows detailed functions of a DEU **32** (hereinafter DEU **32**).

FIG. 5 shows a flowchart of processing by which MC of the A **10** is judged by the MCJA **30**.

FIGS. 6A and 6B are a chart and a table, respectively, both explaining kurtosis and skew calculated by the MCJA **30**.

FIGS. 7A to 7H show probability density distributions of time series data actually obtained in a certain experiment.

FIG. 8 shows an example of a hardware configuration of an information processing apparatus **500** (hereinafter IPA **500**) that supplies a program to the MCJA **30**.

Hereinafter, while the present invention will be described by way of invention embodiment, an embodiment as follows does not limit the invention according to the scope of claim. Additionally, not all of combinations of characteristics described in the embodiment are essential in solving means of the invention.

FIG. 1 shows an entire configuration of an A **10**. The A **10** is provided with various equipment represented by automobile equipment **20**-**1** to **20**-N, and a MCJA **30**. The A **10** includes body-related equipment such as an air conditioner, a left door, a right door, a sunroof and wipers, and chassis-related equipment such as an engine, a gear control and a brake control system and the like. In each one of these equipment, an electrical control unit (ECU) is provided, which includes an observation sensor that observes condition of that equipment.

In this embodiment, the automobile equipment **20**-**1** to **20**-N will be described on behalf of these equipment. The respective automobile equipment **20**-**1** to **20**-N includes ECUs **25**-**1** to **25**-N each corresponding to the above-described ECU. The ECUs are connected to one another through the same bus. Additionally, each of the ECUs **25**-**1** to **25**-N includes an observation sensor which observes the state of respective automobile equipment **20**-**1** to **20**-N, and transmits, to the MCJA **30**, observed values obtained by observing that ECUs **25**-**1** to **25**-N. The MCJA **30** is provided so as to be attachable to and detachable from the A **10**, and is used when it is attached to the A **10** by en engineer or the like for analyzing MC having occurred in the A **10**. The MCJA **30** judges MC based on a change of observed values observed from the A **10**, and then outputs a result of the judgment.

“MC” here does not necessarily mean a failure of the A **10**, but means a condition different from criterial predetermined condition. Additionally, “observed values” here are, for example, observation results of such a physical phenomenon as a traveling speed, revolutions, a shift position of a shift lever or the like of the A **10**. In addition to this, “observed values” may be signal values of a control signal transmitted from one ECU to another ECU, or may be checksum data, which are used for correcting an error in the signal.

Note that the ECUs **25**-**1** to **25**-N may be grouped by a plurality of buses. For example, ECUs **25**-**1** to **25**-N may be grouped into a group of body-related control units and one of chassis-related control unit, and merely those control units in the same group may be connected to a single bus.

A first object of the MCJA **30** according to this embodiment is to speedily and efficiently analyze a cause of MC by appropriately selecting merely data necessary for analyzing the cause of the MC from an enormous amount of observed values obtained every moment from various observation sensors, based on a changing pattern of the observed values.

FIGS. 2A to 2D show examples of observed values inputted by the MCJA **30**. FIG. 2A shows a probability density distribution of observed values observed by an ECU (represented by, for example, the ECU **25**-M) that is not a cause of MC having occurred in the A **10**. Additionally, FIG. 2B shows a probability density distribution of observed values observed by the ECU **25**-M when MC does not occur.

As has been already described, in a driving test or the like of an automobile, it is difficult to perform a plurality of experiments under exactly the same experimental environment. For example, even when the same instruction is given to a driver of the automobile, there is a subtle dissimilarity between the operations of accelerating and braking. Additionally, temperature and humidity cannot be exactly identical. Accordingly, even when observed values do not indicate MC, time series data of the observed values differ in every experimental test. Therefore, even by comparing the time series data of the observed values, it is often impossible to recognize a significant difference attributable to MC of the automobile.

Meanwhile, as shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B, a probability density function of observed values observed with respect to a portion that is not a cause of MC is substantially identical even between occasions when experimental environments slightly differ from each other.

On the other hand, FIG. 2C shows a probability density distribution of observed values observed by an ECU (for example, the ECU **25**-L) that is a cause of MC having occurred in the A **10**. Additionally, FIG. 2D shows a probability density distribution of observed values observed by the ECU **25**-L when MC does not occur. By comparing FIGS. 2C and 2D, a significant difference can be found without the need of performing a quantitative analysis.

As has been described, in many cases, a probability density distribution scarcely changes with a marginal change in experimental environment, but changes only with occurrence of MC. Accordingly, it is considered that a portion that is a cause of MC can be found efficiently by obtaining a probability density function of time series data to analyze the data, not by analyzing the time series data as they are.

However, in order to obtain a probability density function for a certain time period, all of the time series data during that time period are necessary, and therefore, a certain amount of processing time comes to be required after experiments of a driving test and the like of the A **10** are preformed.

Meanwhile, a second object of the MCJA **30** according to this embodiment is to obtain a statistic of an observed value one by one whenever the observed value is acquired in a driving test of the A **10**, and immediately judge whether the observed value is necessary for a cause analysis.

FIG. 3 shows functions of the MCJA **30** by way of functional blocks. The MCJA **30** includes a DEU **32**, a change-point detecting unit **34** (hereinafter CPDU **34**), an associated variable selecting unit **36** (hereinafter AVSU **36**) and a judging unit **38** (hereinafter JU **38**). The DEU **32** performs data cleansing by which data expected to represent candidates of a cause of MC having occurred in the A **10** are selected among observed values observed from the A **10**. Specifically, first, the DEU **32** acquires time series data of values of each of a plurality of variables that has a plurality of observed values observed from the A **10** as a value. For example, the DEU **32** may acquire time series data of each of the variables by monitoring the bus, through which the respective ECUs **25**-**1** to **25**-N are connected to one another, to sequentially acquire observed values stored in communication packets transferred in the bus. Then, after the DEU **32** extracts, out of the variables, a variable that represents a candidate of a cause of MC occurrence, the DEU **32** informs the CPDU **34** of the variable. Furthermore, merely with respect to variables by which MC of the A **10** is detected, the DEU **32** may save time series data of these variables in a storage device.

The CPDU **34**, reads time series data of at least one variable out of the picked up variables, for example, after the driving test of the A **10** is over. Then, after detecting a change-point indicating a point of time when a changing pattern of values of the foregoing variable changes, the CPDU **34** transmits a result of the detection to the AVSU **36**. Note that the CPDU **34** may additionally detect change-points with respect to other predetermined variables. The AVSU **36** selects a set of variables whose change-points detected by the CPDU **34** are similar to one another. By obtaining degrees of association with which changing patterns of a plurality of variables are associated with one another, the AVSU **36** may select a set of variables whose change-points are similar to one another based on the degrees of association. As an example, the AVSU **36** may obtain degrees of association between the respective variables in accordance with a technology described in Non-patent Document 1.

The JU **38** judges that MC has occurred in portions that are observation objects of observed values held by those variables selected by the AVSU **36**. Instead of this, the JU **38** may judge a portion that is a cause of MC, based on whether each of the variables has an abnormal value in comparison with values taken thereby under normal conditions. Specifically, the JU **38** previously stores a probability density distribution of values that can be held by each of the variables under normal conditions. Then, by comparing the stored probability density distribution and a probability density distribution of acquired time series data, the JU **38** judges whether that variable indicates a portion that is a cause of MC. Also by using this judgment, it is possible to appropriately detect a portion that is the cause of the malfunction.

As has been described hereinabove, according to the configuration shown by FIG. 3, the DEU **32** informs the CPDU **34** merely of variables that represent candidates of a cause of MC occurrence. Thereby, it is possible to reduce time required in processing of the CPDU **34**, the AVSU **36** and the JU **38**. Furthermore, during the driving test, the DEU **32** may store merely time series data of those variables, and discard time series data of the other variables. Thereby, it is possible to reduce a necessary capacity of the storage device installed in the MCJA **30**, and consequently, it is possible to reduce a size, an amount of heat generation, power consumption and the like of the MCJA **30**.

FIG. 4 shows detailed functions of the DEU **32**. The DEU **32** includes an acquiring unit **300** (hereinafter AU **300**), a forgetting rate setting unit **310** (hereinafter FRSU **310**), a statistic computing unit **320** (hereinafter SCU **320**), a dissimilarity computing unit **330** (DCU **330**), a reference statistic recording unit **340** (hereinafter RSRU **340**), and an extracting unit **350** (hereinafter EU **350**). The AU **300** acquires time series data for each of a plurality of variables that has a plurality of observed values observed from the A **10** as a value. Each of a plurality of variables stores, as a variable value, observed values observed with respect to each different portion belonging to a single automobile. Specifically, the AU **300** may acquire time series data of each of the variables by monitoring the bus, through which the respective ECUs **25**-**1** to **25**-N are connected to one another, to sequentially acquire observed values stored in communication packets transferred through the bus.

The FRSU **310** obtains an updating frequency at which each of the variables is updated in a unit time. Moreover, with respect to each of the variables, the FRSU **310** sets a forgetting rate, which is used for calculating a statistic of that variable, in a manner that, when an updating frequency of that variable is higher, the forgetting rate is set lower than when the updating frequency of the variable is lower. The forgetting rate will be described later. Note that the forgetting rate may be set to be a predetermined value with respect to each of the variables regardless of processing of the FRSU **310**. The SCU **320** calculates, with respect to each of the variables, a statistic defining a probability density function of that variable at T1 based on the value of that variable at T1 and that statistic at a point of time prior to T1.

In the calculation of the statistic, the forgetting rate set by the FRSU **310** is used. In more detail, when the SCU **320** calculates a statistic defining a probability density function of a certain variable at T1, that statistic at a point of time prior to T1 is multiplied by the forgetting rate that has been set corresponding to that variable by the FRSU **310**. Then, the SCU **320** calculates the statistic at T1 based on a value obtained as a result of the multiplication and on an observed value obtained at T1.

The DCU **330** calculates, with respect to each of the variables, dissimilarity showing the extent of variation between a statistic calculated for that variable and a statistic of a criterial probability density function predetermined corresponding to that variable. For example, the RSRU **340** records a predetermined statistic corresponding to each of the plurality of variables. So therefore, the DCU **330** may read from the RSRU **340** the statistic recorded corresponding to that variable to calculate a difference value between the read statistic and the statistic calculated by the SCU **320** as the dissimilarity.

The EU **350** picks up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the dissimilarity calculated by the RSRU **340** is larger than a predetermined reference value, as the variable by which MC of the A **10** is detected. Then, the EU **350** informs the CPDU **34** of the variable. Specifically, the EU **350** selects time series data merely of these variables, and stores them in the storage device. Instead of this, the EU **350** may store time series data merely of variables that represent candidates of a cause of the MC, along with a label, which indicates that intent, attached to the time series data.

FIG. 5 shows a flowchart of processing by which MC of the A **10** is judged by the MCJA **30**. The MCJA **30** performs processing as follows, for example, at regular intervals. First, the AU **300** monitors the bus through which the respective ECUs **25**-**1** to **25**-N are connected to one another, and thereby acquires observed values stored in communication packets transferred in the bus (S**500**).

With respect to each of the respective variables, if an updating frequency, at which that variable is updated in a unit time, is changed (Yes in S**510**), the FRSU **310** obtains a forgetting rate based on the updating frequency after the change, and then sets that forgetting rate in the SCU **320** (S**520**). Note that the detection of updating frequencies (S**510**) and the processing of changing the forgetting rate (S**520**) may not necessarily be performed whenever an observed value is acquired, and may be performed respectively at time intervals different from those in the processing in this drawing, and independently from the processing in this drawing.

The SCU **320** calculates, with respect to each of the variables, a statistic defining a probability density function of that variable at T1 based on the value of that variable at T1 and that statistic at a point of time prior to T1 (S**530**). Processing of calculating the statistic will be described by taking as an example a case where the statistics are kurtosis and skew of the probability density distribution. First, meanings of the kurtosis and skew will be described.

With respect to any continuous distribution f(x) standardized (with a mean **0** and a variance 1), it is known that the Gram-Charlier-Edgeworth expansion expressed by the following equation holds true.

where: κ_{3 }and κ_{4 }are a third-order cumulant and a fourth-order cumulant, respectively; h_{3 }and h_{4 }are a third-order Hermitian polynomial and a fourth-order Hermitian polynomial, respectively; and φ(x) is a standard normal distribution.

As readily known from the equation (1), or more directly from an expanded expression of a cumulant generating function, a cumulant of third or later order is a statistic signifying a deviation from normality. Statistically, characteristics thereof are well researched, and the third-order and fourth-order cumulants have been named respectively as kurtosis and skew. The kurtosis and the skew are, as also presumed based on meanings of these words, tendencies of dissimilarity of a distribution shape of a probability density function with reference to a distribution shape of the standard normal distribution. As an example, the SCU **320** calculates, as statistics for each of the variables, kurtosis and skew of that variable.

FIGS. 6A and 6B are a chart and a table, respectively, explaining kurtosis and skew calculated by the MCJA **30**. In FIG. 6A, the standard normal distribution is indicated by a thick line, the other two probability density distributions are indicated by thin lines. In one probability density distribution of the other two, a value of x that makes a density value thereof to be maximum differs from a value of such x in the standard normal distribution. This probability density distribution has a higher kurtosis than the standard normal distribution. In the other probability density distribution of the other two, a maximum value thereof is larger than a value of such x in the standard normal distribution. This probability density distribution has a higher skew than the standard normal distribution.

As shown in FIG. 6B, a normal distribution function and a delta function each takes a value 0 as both kurtosis and skew thereof. On the other hand, while a uniform distribution function takes 0 as a skew thereof, it generally takes a value of −6/5 as a kurtosis thereof. Other functions different from these functions each takes non-zero values as both kurtosis and skew thereof.

Hereinafter, by going back to FIG. 5, processing by which kurtosis and skew of a probability density function are calculated will be described.

When an i-th order moment around the origin is denoted as μ_{i}′, a relation indicated by the following equations (2) holds true with respect to cumulants of fourth and earlier orders.

κ_{1}=μ_{1}′,

κ_{2}=μ_{2}′−μ_{1}′^{2},

κ_{3}=μ_{3}′−3μ_{1}′μ_{2}′+2μ_{1}′^{3}, and

κ_{4}=μ_{4}′−4μ_{1}′μ_{3}′−3μ_{2}′^{2}+12μ_{1}′^{2}μ_{2}′−6μ_{1}′^{4} (2)

In a case where data arrive online, the data cannot be deemed to have been previously standardized. In response, the kurtosis and skew are defined anew by the following equations (3).

Accordingly, as long as the moments of fourth and earlier orders can be calculated, the kurtosis and skew can also be calculated.

In order to derive an online calculating formula for the moments, it is noted that the following identity (4) holds true with respect to any function g(x) of a random variable x.

where x(s) indicates a value of the random variable at a time point s. The left side of the identity (4) can be interpreted as a sample mean for data up to a time point t. If the left side is written, for example, as g_{t }so as to mean that interpretation, the above identity can be rewritten as:

*g*=(1−β)·*g*_{t-1}*+βg*(*x*(*t*)), (5)

where 1/t is replaced by β. Here, if 1/β is reinterpreted as a parameter expressing a time scale given attention to, the above equation can be interpreted as an online updating formula of an expectation for the random function g. That is, moments around the origin at the time point t can be calculated as:

μ_{n}′(*t*)=(1−β)μ_{n}′(*t−*1)+β*x*(*t*)″ (n=1, 2, 3, and 4). (6)

This β is a forgetting rate set by the above-described FRSU **310**. The forgetting rate takes a positive value less than 1.

In summary, the SCU **320** ends up calculating kurtosis and skew at a certain time point t in processes described below.

1. Feed an initial value x(0).

2. Calculate the first- to fourth-order moments at the time point t by using the equation (6). In processing of this calculation, moments μ_{i}′(t−1) at a time point (t−1) prior to the time point t are used.

3. Calculate the first- to fourth-order cumulants at the time point t by using the equations (2).

4. Calculate the skew and kurtosis by using the defining formulae (3).

Note that, although the SCU **320** calculates the first- to fourth-order moments and additionally calculates the first- to fourth-order cumulants in this embodiment, cumulants calculated by the SCU **320** are not limited to those of the fourth and earlier orders. For example, the SCU **320** may calculate each of cumulants of the fifth and later orders as a statistic indicating a probability density distribution of each of the variables. As a method of calculating the cumulants of the fifth and later orders, the SCU **320** can calculate each of moments of the fifth and later orders by setting n to be each of values of 5 and above in the equation (6), and can further calculate each of the cumulants based on those moments.

Next, the DCU **330** calculates, with respect to each of the variables, dissimilarity showing the extent of variation between a cumulant calculated with respect to that variable and a cumulant of a criterial probability density function predetermined corresponding to that variable (S**540**). For example, the RSRU **340** records a criterial kurtosis and a criterial skew both predetermined corresponding to each of the plurality of variables. So therefore, the DCU **330** may read from the RSRU **340** the kurtosis and skew both recorded corresponding to each of the plurality of variables, and calculate, as the dissimilarity, the extent of variation (difference values) between the read kurtosis and the kurtosis calculated by the SCU **320**, and between the read skew and the skew calculated by the SCU **320**.

The EU **350** picks up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which the dissimilarity calculated by the RSRU **340** is larger than a predetermined reference value, as the variable by which MC of the A **10** is detected (S**550**). Next, the CPDU **34** detects a point of time when a changing pattern of values of at least one of the picked up variables changes (S**560**). Note that the CPDU **34** may additionally detect change-points with respect to still other variables. The AVSU **36** selects a set of variables whose change-points detected by the CPDU **34** are similar to one another (S**570**). Thereafter, the JU **38** judges the set of variables selected by CPDU **34** to be a set of variables that indicates a portion that is the cause of the MC, and outputs a result of the judgment.

FIGS. 7A to 7H show probability density distributions of time series data actually obtained in a certain experiment. In more detail, FIGS. 7A to 7H are probability density distributions of observed values obtained from the respective ECUs **25**-**1** to **25**-**8** shown in FIG. 1. As shown in these drawings, the observed values obtained from communication packets transferred through the CAN show not only a distribution similar to a normal distribution as seen in a case of observed values with respect to a physical phenomenon, but also various distributions such as a discrete uniform distribution, a distribution indicating a constant function and the like. For example, as shown in FIG. 7E, the variable **5** has a distribution of a constant function. Additionally, as shown in FIGS. 7F and 7H, the variables **6** and **8** show distributions similar to a normal distribution if some values thereof are excluded. From this information, it can be considered that each of the ECUs **25**-**6** and **25**-**8** observed a physical phenomenon (for example, a speed of the automobile, revolutions, or the like).

On the other hand, as shown in FIGS. 7*a*, **7***b *and **7***g*, each of variables **1**, **2** and **7** forms a discrete uniform distribution. From this information, it can be considered that each of the ECUs **25**-**1**, **25**-**2** and **25**-**7** did not observe a physical phenomenon, but observed a control signal or the like. For example, it is considered highly possible that each of the ECUs **25**-**1**, **25**-**2** and **25**-**7** was transmitting a control signal to another ECU.

However, observed values shown in FIG. 7*a *show a distribution dissimilar from a complete discrete uniform distribution. It is known that a dissimilarity of this kind occurs because of retransmission of a lost or not yet arrived communication packet storing an observed value. It is known that a probability density function changes not only as a result of this example, but also as a result of slight dissimilarity in experimental environment. In the case where a probability density function changes as a result of slight dissimilarity in experimental environment, it is difficult to accurately detect a discrete uniform function by a simple condition judgment (for example, a condition where frequencies of occurrence of an observed value 10 and an observed value 11 are equal to each other).

Meanwhile, based on statistics of probability density distributions of observed values, the MCJA **30** shown in this embodiment detects a variable that represents a cause of MC having occurred in an observation object of that variable. That is, for example, with respect to each of the variables, the DCU **330** calculates, as the dissimilarity, difference values of kurtosis and skew calculated by the SCU **320** respectively from kurtosis and skew of a criterial probability density function predetermined corresponding to that variable. Then, the EU **350** picks up a variable, in which at least any one of the difference values in kurtosis and in skew calculated by the DCU **330** is larger than a predetermined criterion therefor, as the variable by which MC of the automobile is detected. Accordingly, the variable **1** shown in FIG. 7A has a slight statistic difference with a discrete uniform distribution, and therefore is not picked up as the variable by which MC of the automobile is detected.

A more detailed example of the processing will be described. The RSRU **340** records kurtosis and skew of a discrete uniform distribution function in a manner that the kurtosis and skew correspond to the variable **1** that has observation values of the ECU **25**-**1**. That is, it is known, by previously obtained design information, or based on observation values obtained by observing the automobile in normal condition, that the ECU **25**-**1** obtains observation values forming the discrete uniform distribution. Accordingly, the RSRU **340** records a kurtosis −6/5 of the discrete uniform distribution in a manner that the kurtosis corresponds to the variable **1**. Additionally, the RSRU **340** records a skew **0** of the discrete uniform distribution in a manner that the skew corresponds to the variable **1**.

Incidentally, it is known that a kurtosis of a discrete uniform distribution becomes −(6/5)×(n^{2}+1/n^{2}−1) where n is the number of values possible to be taken by the observation values forming that distribution. If a number of values possible to be taken by the variable **1** is 12, the kurtosis of the variables **1** is −(6/5)×(12^{2}+1/12^{2}−1). Accordingly, with respect to each of the variables that have discrete uniform distributions, the RSRU **340** may record, instead of −6/5 that is an approximate value of the kurtosis of the discrete uniform distribution, an exact kurtosis based on the number of values possible to be taken by that variable, in a manner that the exact kurtosis corresponds to that variable.

With respect to the variable **1**, the DCU **330** calculates, as dissimilarity, difference values of kurtosis and skew calculated by the SCU **320** respectively from kurtosis and skew in the discrete uniform distribution function. Then, the EU **350** picks up a variable in which at least any one of the difference values of the kurtosis and skew calculated by the DCU **330** is larger than a predetermined criterion therefor. Based on the above processing, conditions by which a certain variable is judged to have a discrete uniform distribution can be summarized as follows.

wherein ε_{1 }and ε_{2 }are predetermined criteria corresponding to kurtosis and skew therefor, respectively. According to the above judgment conditions, it is possible to appropriately judge MC having occurred in, for example, an ECU originally supposed to transmit various control signals.

Likewise, with respect to a case where values of a certain variable has a normal distribution, an example of judgment on whether that variable indicates MC of the automobile will be described.

The RSRU **340** records kurtosis and skew of a normal distribution function in a manner that the kurtosis and skew correspond to the variable **6**, the values of which are observation values of the ECU **25**-**6**. That is, it is known, by previously-obtained design information, or based on observation values obtained by observing the automobile in normal condition, that the ECU **25**-**6** obtains observation values forming the normal distribution. Accordingly, the RSRU **340** records 0 as a kurtosis of the normal distribution and 0 as a skew of the normal distribution in a manner that the kurtosis and skew correspond to the variable **6**.

With respect to the variable **6**, the DCU **330** calculates difference values of the kurtosis and skew calculated by the SCU **320** respectively from the kurtosis and the skew in the normal distribution function, as dissimilarity. Then, the EU **350** picks up a variable in which at least any one of the difference values in kurtosis and in skew calculated by the DCU **330** is larger than a predetermined criterion. Based on the above processing, conditions by which a certain variable is judged to have a normal distribution can be summarized as follows.

|κ_{3}|<ε_{1}, and

|κ_{4}|<ε_{2}. (8)

According to the above judgment conditions, it is possible to appropriately judge, for example, an ECU observing a portion where MC has occurred.

Likewise, with respect to a case where a certain variable has a constant function, an example of judgment on whether that variable indicates MC of the automobile will be described.

The SCU **320** calculates a second-order cumulant with respect to the variable **5**. The second order cumulant is a variance, and it is known that a variance of a constant function is 0. Therefore, the RSRU **340** records a variance 0 of the constant function in a manner that the variance 0 corresponds to the variable **5** having observation values of the ECU **25**-**5**. With respect to the variable **5**, the DCU **330** calculates a difference value of the second-order cumulant calculated by the SCU **320** from the variance of the constant function, as dissimilarity. Then, the EU **350** picks up a variable in which a difference value of the variance calculated by the DCU **330** is larger than a predetermined criterion. Thereby, when abnormality has occurred in observed values obtained from the automobile equipment **20**-**5**, it is possible to extract the variable **5** to allow it to serve in fault diagnosis.

As has been described hereinabove, the MCJA **30** of this embodiment calculates a statistic of an observed value whenever an observed value is acquired, and based on dissimilarity of the statistic, judges a candidate of a cause of MC. Thereby, the MCJA **30** can judge the cause of the MC, stably, in real time and accurately, regardless of a slight difference in observation environment.

According to the present invention, various applications can be made possible in addition to the above embodiment.

Hereinafter, two variations thereof will be presented.

(1) Classification of Variables

As has been already described, design information of an automobile has high confidentiality, and therefore, is often difficult to be obtained even when that is used for MC detection of the automobile. Therefore, in some cases, it is impossible to previously recognize whether each of the observed values indicates a physical phenomenon or a control signal of the automobile. For this reason, in some cases, regardless of whether MC has occurred or has not occurred, it is desirable that each of the variables be classified by type thereof preferably by using an automobile in normal condition. By applying the MCJA **30** of this embodiment, the classification of this kind also becomes possible.

Specifically, first, as in the case with the above-described embodiment, the AU **300** acquires time series data of each of the variables by using an automobile in normal condition. Then, the SCU **320** calculates, with respect to each of the variables, a statistic defining a probability density function of that variable at T1 based on the value of that variable at T1 and that statistic at a point of time prior to T1. The MCJA **30** judges whether a static calculated with respect to each of the variables approximates to a statistic acquired when the probability density distribution of that variable is a normal distribution. For example, if kurtosis and skew calculated with respect to a certain variable of the respective variables have both values within ranges predetermined on the basis of a kurtosis and a skew of the normal distribution as criteria, the MCJA **30** may judge that the certain variable has observed values of a physical phenomenon as variable values thereof. Judgment in a case of a discrete uniform distribution can be performed in a manner similar to this.

(2) MC Detection with Objects Other than Automobile

The MCJA **30** in this embodiment is effective particularly in a case where it is impossible to perform observation a plurality of times in a totally identical environment. For example, the MCJA **30** may be provided in an examination apparatus operable to examine an individual human being, an individual animal or the like, and may be used for diagnosing MC having occurred in that individual. In this case, each of a plurality of variables stores observed values observed from each different portion of an individual that is the object of diagnosis. Then, the EU **350** picks up, out of the plurality of variables, a variable in which dissimilarity calculated by the DCU **330** is larger than a predetermined reference value, as the value by which MC of the individual is detected. In this manner, the MCJA **30** can be applied also to various objects from which observed value are available other than automobiles.

FIG. 8 shows an example of a hardware configuration of an IPA **500** that supplies a program to the MCJA **30**. The IPA **500** is provided with: a CPU peripheral section including a CPU **1000**, a RAM **1020** and a graphic controller **1075**, all connected to one another by a host controller **1082**; an input-output section including a communication interface **1030**, a hard disk drive **1040** and a CD-ROM drive **1060**, all connected to the host controller **1082** by an input-output controller **1084**; and a legacy input-output section including a ROM **1010**, a flexible disk drive **1050** and an input-output chip **1070**, all connected to the input-output controller **1084**.

The host controller **1082** connects the RAM **1020** to the CPU **1000** and the graphic controller **1075** both of which accesses the ROM **1020** at a high data transmission rate. The CPU **1000** operates based on programs stored in the ROM **1010** and the RAM **1020**, to control each unit of the IPA **500**. The graphic controller **1075** acquires picture data generated by the CPU **1000** or the like on a frame buffer provided in the RAM **1020**, and displays the picture data on a display device **1080**. Instead of this configuration, the graphic controller **1075** may include in itself the frame buffer storing the picture data generated by the CPU **1000** or the like.

The input-output controller **1084** connects the host controller **1082** to the communication interface **1030**, the hard disk drive **1040** and the CD-ROM drive **1060** that are relatively high-speed input-output devices. The communication interface **1030** communicates with an external apparatus through a network. The hard disk drive **1040** stores programs and data used by the IPA **500**. The CD-ROM drive **1060** reads a program or data from a CD-ROM **1095**, and supplies the program or the data to the RAM **1020** or the hard disk drive **1040**.

Additionally, relatively low-speed input-output devices such as the ROM **1010**, the flexible disk drive **1050** and the input-output chip **1070** are connected to the input-output controller **1084**. The ROM **1010** stores programs such as a boot program executed by the CPU **1000** upon start-up of the IPA **500**, and a program dependent on hardware of the IPA **500**. The flexible disk drive **1050** reads a program or data from a flexible disk **1090**, and supplies the program or the data to the RAM **1020** or the hard disk drive **1040** through the input-output chip **1070**. The input-output chip **1070** connects various input-output devices to the IPA **500** through the flexible disk **1090**, and for example, through a parallel port, a serial port, a key board port, a mouse port and the like.

Each program supplied to the IPA **500** is stored in a recoding medium such as the flexible disk **1090**, the CD-ROM **1095**, an IC card or the like, and then, is supplied by a user of the MCJA **30**. That program is read from the recording medium through at least any one of the input-output chip **1070** and the input-output controller **1084**, and then, is installed into the IPA **500** to be executed. Because operations which the programs cause the MCJA **30** to execute are the same as those described in FIGS. 1 to 7H, descriptions thereof will be omitted.

The programs described above may be stored in an external recording medium. As a recording medium, an optical recording medium such as a DVD or a PD, a magneto-optical recording medium such as an MD, a tape medium, a semiconductor memory such as an IC card may be used other than the flexible disk **1090** and the CD-ROM **1095**. A recording device such as a hard disk or a RAM provided on a server system connected to a dedicated communication network or to the Internet may be used as a recording medium, whereby a program is supplied to IPA **500** via the network.

Although the present invention has been described hereinabove by using the embodiment, a technical scope of the present invention is not limited to a scope described in the above embodiment. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that it is possible to add various alterations or modifications to the above embodiment. It is apparent from description in the scope of claim that modes to which such alterations or modifications are added can be included in the technical scope of the present invention.

According to the present invention, it becomes possible to appropriately select, out of the plurality of observed values obtained from the observation object, an observed value indicating a MC having occurred in the observation object.

Although the preferred embodiment of the present invention has been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alternations can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the inventions as defined by the appended claims.