Browse Prior Art Database

Pattern Matching To Automate Solution Discovery Using Disparate Data Sources

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000160821D
Original Publication Date: 2007-Nov-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2007-Nov-30

Publishing Venue

Microsoft

Related People

Steven P. Justice: INVENTOR [+3]

Abstract

A system and method are provided for identifying solutions to errors indicated by computer users by providing automated analysis supported by a dynamically-updating database that accurately identifies known errors using data from a variety of known application outputs. This database is indexed by uniquely identifiable problem signatures, which may be assigned weighting values to facilitate the relevance ranking of search results. Data extracted from a user's computer is compared to the information contained in the database to identify matches between the patterns of data from the user's computer and the patterns of data corresponding to known errors. A database entry for a problem signature may contain standard support information such as related knowledge base articles and hotfix information. Additionally, the database contains support information that both facilitates collaboration between CSS engineers and facilitates efficiency by avoiding duplicate efforts in researching and determining solutions to known errors.

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PATTERN MATCHING TO AUTOMATE SOLUTION DISCOVERY USING DISPARATE DATA SOURCES

            Often, when operating a computing device, presently-running applications or online connections generate operating errors.  These errors create an inconvenience to computer users and can cause a frustrating experience.  As a result, many software and telecommunication companies provide customer-support service engineers to assist computer users with alleviating these errors.  Typically, a computer user experiencing an error communicates with a service engineer online or by telephone to relate the problem that the user has encountered.  In response, the engineer will ask the user to submit information provided by the computer user’s computing device.  Potentially, this information is utilized to determine the cause of the error or identify a solution.

            While this type of personal service may occasionally assist a computer user, it is time consuming and unnecessarily challenging for the service engineer.  For instance, a service engineer may not be immediately aware of where to find a solution to the encountered error or may not be able to identify the cause of the error.  Thus, traditional methods employed by customer-support service engineers are often ineffective in promoting the efficient management of errors effecting computer user.  Further, the vast number of applications, services, and other potential originators of errors drives a need for a more robust system to efficiently identify these errors and provide reliable solutions to computer-user problems.

            The present invention generally relates to a system and method for processing user requests for customer support by utilizing an analytical tool that is supported by a dynamically-updated database.  The analytical tool facilitates matching processing patterns of  undesirable computing device behavior and information related to presently recognized errors.  This pattern matching facilitates identification of remedies in the database for known errors, and is updatable to store processing patterns of new errors.

            With reference to FIG.1, initially, the method for processing user requests is triggered when the user contacts a customer-support services (CSS) engineer for help with remedying an error, as indicated at block 10.  This error need not be a hard error or system crash, but can include any type of undesirable behavior that is noticeable to the user when implementing a software command or attempting to access (or use) an online service.  In this instance, the user may contact the CSS engineer online or by calling a telephone number established for customer support services. 

            With continued reference to  FIG.1, as indicated at block 20, the CSS engi...