The two-volume set entitled "Knowledge-Based Systems (Volume 1, Knowledge Acquisition for Knowledge-Based Systems, 355 pp., and Volume 2, "Knowledge Acquisition Tools for Expert Systems, 343 pp., Academic Press, San Diego, California, 1988), edited by B. R. Gaines and J. H. Boose, is an excellent collection of papers useful to both commercial practitioners of knowledge-based-systems development and research-oriented scientists at specialized centers or academic institutions.
The major limitations in building large software have always been (a) its brittleness when confronted by problems that were not foreseen by its builders, and (by the amount of manpower required. The recent history of expert systems, for example highlights how constricting the brittleness and knowledge acquisition bottlenecks are. Moreover, standard software methodology (e.g., working from a detailed "spec") has proven of little use in AI, a field which by definition tackles ill- structured problems. But decades of work on such systems have convinced us that each of these approaches has difficulty "scaling up" for want a substantial base of real world knowledge.
The Xerox Corporation Knowledge Based Systems Competency Center (KBSCC) was established three years ago in Rochester, NY, to identify and develop strategic knowledge based system applications multinationally and across all Corporate functions. Applications are currently being developed in the areas of account management, product design and development, logistics, manufacturing operations, and financial planning. The KBSCC is a 50 person group of energetic and talented individuals bringing together diverse skills and experience, and sharing a strong commitment to knowledge based systems development and technology transfer. If you have a track record of successfully developing and deploying knowledge based systems to solve real-world problems, and you wish to work in an empowering environment that encourages creativity and professional growth, we invite you to consider joining the Xerox KBSCC. Please contact us by sending your resume to XEROX CORPORATION Knowledge Based Systems Competency Center 780 Salt Rd., Bldg.
The first step in the development of an expert system is the extraction and characterization of the knowledge and skills of an expert. This step is widely regarded as the major bottleneck in the system development process. To assist knowledge engineers and others who might be interested in the development of an expert system, I offer (1) a working classification of methods for extracting an expert's knowledge, (2) some ideas about the types of data that the methods yield, and (3) a set of criteria by which the methods can be compared relative to the needs of the system developer. The discussion highlights certain issues, including the contrast between the empirical approach taken by experimental psychologists and the formalism-oriented approach that is generally taken by cognitive scientists.