"Today's expert systems deal with domains of narrow specialization. For expert systems to perform competently over a broad range of tasks, they will have to be given very much more knowledge. ... The next generation of expert systems ... will require large knowledge bases. How will we get them?"
– Edward Feigenbaum, Pamela McCorduck, H. Penny Nii, from The Rise of the Expert Company. New York: Times Books, 1988.
Today, we are bombarded by messages about the ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) is changing our world and its future promises and perils. But today's AI, called machine learning, is very different from much of AI in the past. From the 1970s until the 1990s, a very different approach, called "expert systems," appeared poised to radically change society in many of the same ways that today's machine learning seems. Expert systems seek to encode into software systems the experience and understanding of the finest human specialists in everything from diagnosing an infectious disease to identifying the sonar fingerprint of enemy submarines, and then have these systems suggest reasoned decisions and conclusions in new, real-world cases. Today, many of these expert systems are commonplace in everything from systems for maintenance and repair, to automated customer support systems of various sorts.
Expert Systems: Expert systems are the most used Artificial Intelligence tools. The expert system is software used in the activity areas in some applications to finding answers to questions presented by a user or another software. It can be used directly to support decisions in areas such as medical diagnostics, finance, or cyberspace. There are a variety of specialist systems for solutions to problems, from small technical diagnostic systems to complex, very large and sophisticated hybrid systems. Conceptually, an expert system includes a database of expert knowledge about a particular application area.
The screen shows four types of COVID-19 related entities, virus (blue), cell (pink), gene or genome (green), and disease or syndrome (red), and their relationships. All entities are Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) compatible for convenient knowledge sharing. The systems support 75 types of UMLS entities. Researchers from Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science, in collaboration with FAU's Schmidt College of Medicine, have received a one-year, $90,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) RAPID project grant to conduct research using social networks and machine learning, facilitated by molecular genetics and viral infection, for COVID-19 modeling and risk evaluation. The project will create a web-based COVID-19 knowledge base, as well as a risk evaluation tool for individuals to assess their infection risk in a dynamic environment.
A major strength of frame-based knowledge representation languages is their ability to provide the knowledge base designer with a concise and intuitively appealing means expression. The claim of intuitive appeal is based on the observation that the object -centered style of description provided by these languages often closely matches a designer's understanding of the domain being modeled and therefore lessens the burden of reformulation involved in developing a formal description. To be effective as a knowledge base development tool, a language needs to be supported by an implementation that facilitates creating, browsing, debugging, and editing the descriptions in the knowledge base. We have focused on providing such support in a SmallTalk (Ingalls, 1978) implementation of the KL-ONE knowledge representation language (Brachman, 1978), called KloneTalk, that has been in use by several projects for over a year at Xerox PARC. In this note, we describe those features of KloneTalk's displaybased interface that have made it an effective knowledge base development tool, including the use of constraints to automatically determine descriptions of newly created data base items.
Our group's work in medical decision making has led us to formulate a framework for expert system design, in particular about how the domain knowledge may be decomposed into substructures. We propose that there exist different problem-solving types, i.e., uses of knowledge, and corresponding to each is a separate substructure specializing in that type of problem-solving. Each substructure is in turn further decomposed into a hierarchy of specialist which differ from each other not in the type of problem-solving, but in the conceptual content of their knowledge; e.g.; one of them may specialize in "heart disease," while another may do so in "liver," though both of them are doing the same type of problem solving. Thus ultimately all the knowledge in the system is distributed among problem-solvers which know how to use that knowledge. This is in contrast to the currently dominant expert system paradigm which proposes a common knowledge base accessed by knowledge-free problem-solvers of various kinds. In our framework there is no distinction between knowledge bases and problem-solvers: each knowledge source is a problem-solver.
Schlumberger is a large, multinational corporation concerned primarily with the measurement, collection, and interpretation of data. For the past fifty years, most of the activities have been related to hydrocarbon exploration. The efficient location and production of hydrocarbons from an underground formation requires a great deal of knowledge about the formation, ranging in scale from the size and shape of the rock's pore spaces to the size and shape of the entire reservoir. Schlumberger provides its clients with two types of information: measurements, called logs, of the petrophysical properties of the rock around the borehole, such as its electrical, acoustical, and radioactive characteristics; and in terpretations of these logs in terms of geophysical properties such as porosity and mineral composition. Since log interpretation is expert skill, the emergence of expert systems technology prompted Schlumberger's initial interest in Artificial Intelligence.
General Electric is engaged in a broad range of research and development activities in artificial intelligence, with the dual objectives of improving the productivity of its internal operations and of enhancing future products and services in its aerospace, industrial, aircraft engine, commercial, and service sectors. Many of the applications projected for AI within GE will require significant advances in the state of the art in advanced inference, formal logic, and architectures for real-time systems. New software tools for creating expert systems are needed to expedite the construction of knowledge bases. Further, new application domains such as computer -aided design (CAD), computer- aided manufacturing (CAM), and image understanding based on formal logic require novel concepts in knowledge representation and inference beyond the capabilities of current production rule systems. Fundamental research in artificial intelligence is concentrated at Corporate Research and Development (CR&D), with advanced development and applications pursued in parallel efforts by operating departments.
We describe a computer program that implements an algorithm to verify the consistency and completeness of knowledge bases built for the Lockheed expert system (LES) shell. The algorithms described here are not specific to this particular shell and can be applied to many rule-based systems. The computer program, which we call CHECK, combines logical principles as well as specific information about the knowledge representation formalism of LES. CHECK identifies inconsistencies in the knowledge base by looking for redundant rules, conflicting rules, subsumed rules, unnecessary IF conditions, and circular rule chains. Checking for completeness is done by looking for unreferenced attribute values, illegal attribute values, dead-end IF conditions, dead-end goals and unreachable conclusions.
This article examines the direction in which knowledge bases are constructed for diagnosis and decision making. When building an expert system, it is traditional to elicit knowledge from an expert in the direction in which the knowledge is to be applied, namely, from observable evidence toward unobservable hypotheses. However, experts usually find it simpler to reason in the opposite direction-from hypotheses to unobservable evidence-because this direction reflects causal relationships. Therefore, we argue that a knowledge base be constructed following the expert's natural reasoning direction, and then reverse the direction for use. This choice of representation direction facilitates knowledge acquisition in deterministic domains and is essential when a problem involves uncertainty.
Advances in computer hardware and software and engineering methodologies in the 1960s and 1970s led to an increased use of computers by engineers. In design, this use has been limited almost exclusively to algorithmic solutions such as finite-element methods and circuit simulators. However, a number of problems encountered in design are not amenable to purely algorithmic solutions. These problems are often ill structured (the term ill-structured problems is used here to denote problems that do not have a clearly defined algorithmic solution), and an experienced engineer deals with them using judgment and experience. AI techniques, in particular the knowledge-based system (KBS) technology, offer a methodology to solve these ill-structured design problems. In this article, we describe several research projects that utilize KBS techniques for design automation.