If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Phoenix is a real-time, adaptive planner that manages forest fires in a simulated environment. Alternatively, Phoenix is a search for functional relationships between the designs of agents, their behaviors, and the environments in which they work. In fact, both characterizations are appropriate and together exemplify a research methodology that emphasizes complex, dynamic environments and complete, autonomous agents. This article describes the underlying methodology and illustrates the architecture and behavior of Phoenix agents.
To read the book "Automated Reasoning: Thirty-Three Basic Research problems (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1987, 300 pp., $11.00) by Larry Was it is not necessary to be an expert in mathematics or logic or computer science. However, even if you are such an expert, you will read it with interest, and likely, with enjoyment.
Advances in computer hardware and software and engineering methodologies in the 1960s and 1970s led to an increased use of computers by engineers. 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. These projects are (1) the Criteria Yielding, Consistent Labeling with Optimization and Precedents-Based System (CYCLOPS), which generates innovative designs by using a three-stage process: normal search, exploration, and adaptation; (2) the Concept Generator (CONGEN), which is a domain independent framework for conceptual or preliminary design; (3) Constraint Manager (CONMAN), which is a constraint-management system that performs the evaluation and consistency maintenance of constraints arising in design; (4) the distributed and integrated environment for computer-aided engineering (DICE), which facilitates coordination, communication, and control during the entire design and construction/manu-facturing phases; and (5) DESIGN-KIT, which can be envisioned as a new generation of computer-aided engineering environment for process-engineering applications.
Nevertheless, significant aspects of behavior and user expectation are peculiar to expert systems and their users. These considerations are discussed here with examples from an actual system. Guidelines for the behavior of expert systems and the responsibility of designers to their users are proposed.