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For example, there are expert systems that can diagnose human illnesses, make financial forecasts, and schedule routes for delivery vehicles. Some expert systems are designed to take the place of human experts, while others are designed to aid them. Expert systems are part of a general category of computer applications known as artificial intelligence . To design an expert system, one needs a knowledge engineer, an individual who studies how human experts make decisions and translates the rules into terms that a computer can understand. A computer application that performs a task that would otherwise be performed by a human expert. For example, there are expert systems that can diagnose human illnesses, make financial forecasts, and schedule routes for delivery vehicles. Some expert systems are designed to take the place of human experts, while others are designed to aid them. Expert systems are part of a general category of computer applications known as artificial intelligence . To design an expert system, one needs a knowledge engineer, an individual who studies how human experts make decisions and translates the rules into terms that a computer can understand.
A computer program that contains a knowledge base and a set of algorithms or rules that infer new facts from knowledge and from incoming data. An expert system is an artificial intelligence application that uses a knowledge base of human expertise to aid in solving problems. The degree of problem solving is based on the quality of the data and rules obtained from the human expert. Expert systems are designed to perform at a human expert level. In practice, they will perform both well below and well above that of an individual expert. The expert system derives its answers by running the knowledge base through an inference engine, a software program that interacts with the user and processes the results from the rules and data in the knowledge base. Expert systems are used in applications such as medical diagnosis, equipment repair, investment analysis, financial, estate and insurance planning, route scheduling for delivery vehicles, contract bidding, counseling for self-service customers, production control and training.
and whilst the wilder claims were evaporating. Organizations across the commercial spectrum were going on record as realizing benefits from expert systems trials. expert systems fall quite short of this – but they are still worth investigating. Shell. Here we will look at some of the strengths and weaknesses of them. Unilever. modesty seems to be the key: Small PC-based applications which provide computerbased guides on regulations and procedures are ideal for expert system technology. The vacuity of these claims were quickly realized and by the late Eighties. the knowledge engineering bottleneck is key to understanding the failure of expert systems to realize many proponents expectations. Unsurprisingly.Populating an organization with expert systems may seem like nirvana for many gurus of knowledge management: The ability to capture an expert’s knowledge in a software system for other members to use seems to answer many of the problems raised when trying to get an organization to exploit knowledge as a valuable resource. there was a belief that by being "realistic". expert systems were at a watershed. Such a system increases efficiency and can be useful for integrating amendments. expert systems could be useful.) Expert systems were launched in the early Eighties to a fanfare of hype proclaiming that they would soon prove cheaper and more efficient than human experts. even with this more modest view on the role of expert systems led to some predictions being wide of the mark. This problem seems to occur in interviewing experts in any profession and is one of the most significant obstacles in developing expert systems. . Indeed. Amongst them were Ford. Essentially. Prudential and TSB. Wilder pundits even predicted that expert systems would do for white-collar workers what factory automation did for many blue collar workers: make them redunadant. it is much clearer what is happening with expert systems. (See Box 2 on Ovum gets it wrong!) Ten years on. (See Box 1 for a quick answer to what is an expert systems. since it may depend on a "feel-forthe-job" or "intuition". An experienced professional may know how to do a particular task but may be unable to articulate the knowledge for use in an expert system. BP. IBM. However. This kind of application by-passes the knowledge engineering bottleneck: The problem of getting the right sort of information with which to engineer a knowledgebase. The information that goes into manuals can often be used straightforwardly as the knowledge for an expert system. A lot of commercial experience had been gained from the deployment of prototype expert systems.
C++ and Java. This is partly because many of the organizations that do use expert systems technology develop rule-based reasoning within existing software using standard programming languages such as C. which used XpertRule to build a welfare advisor for use by income support staff who deal with questions of eligibility. One of the most recent customers of Attar is The New Zealand Social Welfare Department. Another user of XpertRule is Norwich Union who have developed an Expert Underwriting System. an officer of the department will have a folder with 50 pages of notes and rates to guide them through the calculation. This has been running for a few years and has processed almost 100. Relatively few companies market software tools for building expert systems. An example of its use is as the basis of the Blending Requirements Expert System for United Distilleries. Some of the major helpdesk software suppliers such as Siebel provide rule-based systems embedded within their software packages. The expert system is used to optimize the management of this process by choosing efficient combintations of movements. Typically. in a typical case. This captures some of the issues involved in deciding whether or not it is possible to build an expert system straightforwardly. Undoubtedly.000 casks are moved between them for blending. the benefits of a potential expert system should be considered in addition to the cost. The system is used to advise on the types of whisky required for their whisky blending. While the legislators strive to make the benefits. and each week 20. Expert systems may also be adopted because of a scarcity of knowledgeable staff. clients were frustrated by the delays and . And a number of software systems have embedded rule-based systems that are used without the user even being aware they are accessing an expert system.000 life proposals with 100% conformance with the specified underwriting rules. This complexity denied the department the ability to give quick consistent advice. is an extremely complex calculation. the net result. However. The Expert Underwriting System has met its original objective of achieving 50% automated underwriting and referring only 50% to head office. either over the phone or at the counter. The company has barrels of whisky distributed around 49 warehouses in Scotland. Those that may be quantifiable include more uniform decision making. they have been deployed for use by technical support staff who provide 24-hour helpdesk services for banking software suppliers. allowances and benefit amounts.Many companies providing expert systems consultancy services have distilled their experience into a list of criteria for the viability of expert systems projects (See Box 3 as a example listig). For example. allowances and taxes as simple to calculate as possible. Attar Software is now one of the more prominent suppliers of expert systems packages in the UK with its XpertRule toolset. and the reduction both in errors and in the workload of experienced high-cost staff.
and Y is some evaluation or action that can be inferred if X1. Developments of this idea include the facility to reason with sequences of these rules and to associate numerical uncertainty values with rules. Well the answer is that a number of new technologies have been developed to address the shortcomings of expert systems (See Box 4). allowances and amounts. Whilst a small number of niche suppliers such as Attar Software are making a living out of expert systems. Furthermore. The calculator also provides an explanation of the calculation. The speed of this calculator also allows advice to be given by telephone operators.hunter@cs.…. THEN take an umbrella".Xn are true. including printing an advice note. and (3) Shifting from developing systems that give expert conclusions to systems that enter into a dialogue with the user to advise rather than dictate. this representation can be useful. The XpertRule calculator gives the officer a simple interface to enter the clients circumstances and calculate the eligible benefits. But in general we need more sophisticated technology to represent and reason with knowledge. now a major part of the Department’s new strategy.errors in these manual calculations. it is a software system that codifies some of the knowledge of an expert in rules of the following form: "IF X1 & … & Xn THEN Y" where X1. . where uncertainty is limited.uk. Anthony Hunter is a lecturer in computer science at University College London and can be contacted on a.Xn are conditions.…. it does raise the question of what happened to the wilder predictions of expert systems uptake. A simplistic example is "IF there are a lot of grey clouds in the sky. (2) Use more sophisticated models of the uncertainty that is inherent in most kinds of knowledge. So whilst expert systems may be limited they have spurred the development of range of more sophisticated AI technologies for knowledge management.ucl. In practice. In some focussed application. Box 1: What is an expert system? A common definition of an expert system is a software system that emulates the problem solving behaviour of an expert in a restricted domain. An expert system may include many such rules. These new technologies to been to address the problem from a number of angles: (1) Acquiring knowledge using automated acquisition techniques. the robust rule-management techniques built into XpertRule make the system easily maintainable by an experienced programmer.ac.
Some of the technologies to watch are: Bayesian networks: These are probabilistic models based on directed graphs capturing causal relationships between a number of variables being modelled. and not just common sense is needed to solve the problem. Box 4: Advanced knowledgebase technologies Whilst experts sytems based on rules have limitations. there has been considerable progress in artificial intelligence technologies that take us a few steps closer to the goal of representation and reasoning with sophisticated expert knowledge. there would be wide spread uptake. Problem is too difficult for non-experts yet manageable for experts. Ovum contacted a number of orgnaizations who had experimented with expert systems. In 1988. For professionals needing decision-support. Problem is recurrent.3 billion by 1992. The problem area has clear boundaries and is well understood by experts. Resolution of the problem demands reasoning and not just calculation. Human experts are available to impart and codify their expertise. Box 3: Ovum gets it wrong! Ovum is an independent UK-based IT research and consultancy company. seeing the inter-relationships between evidence and viewpoints can be much more valuable than just being given a computer-generated decision. This failed to materialize. . Argumentation system: These are models based on capturing arguments for and against inferences. and believed that on the basis of these pioneers. Problem arises from scarcity of expertise within the business. they stuck their neck out and predicted that the expert systems market would be $4. The problem size is modest. and as a result most of the key suppliers they analysed went bust in the following couple of years. Well you don’t need to pay £500 to buy another industry report to know this was extremely wide of the mark. These can provide very accurate tools for predication and diagnosis.Box 2: Criteria for judging the viability of an expert system project Resolution of the problem must be important for the business. Microsoft is a big supporter basing various diagnostic tools on the technology. In their research. Specific expertise. Knowledge of the problem does not change constantly.
Machine learning: These are techniques for deriving useful knowledge from data or examples. some of the problems of the knowledge engineering bottleneck can be obviated. By using machine leanting. Data mining is a key approach that looks for using useful patterns in databases. .
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