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Lecture 8: Expert system shells

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... the peculiarities of the knowledge domain and system task. ... Original knowledge, elicited from the domain expert (a salesman for life assurance products) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Lecture 8: Expert system shells


1
Lecture 8 Expert system shells
2
Building expert systems
  • If one wishes to build an expert system, one has
    several choices of software tool
  • (1) conventional programming languages (e.g.
    Pascal, C, Java)
  • (2) artificial intelligence programming
    languages (particularly LISP and Prolog)
  • (3) expert system shells

3
Building expert systems
  • The first choice is almost certainly a bad idea.
  • Conventional programming languages are not
    designed for this sort of job, and too much work
    is required to make the program perform in the
    way required.
  • However, if it is important to have highly
    efficient software, this might be a suitable
    choice.

4
Building expert systems
  • Choice (2) has the advantage
  • a flexible system can be built, accurately
    reflecting the peculiarities of the knowledge
    domain and system task.
  • and the disadvantages
  • Programming skills in these languages are not
    common. It may be necessary to hire specialist
    programmers, or retrain the programming staff.
  • Programming the system will always be a larger
    (and hence longer and more expensive) task than
    using a shell.

5
Building expert systems
  • Choice (3) has been the most frequent choice for
    commercial systems in recent years.

6
Building expert systems
  • You will remember that an expert system shell is
    a ready-made expert system, with the
    knowledgebase missing, together with instructions
    for building a knowledgebase in the customer's
    chosen domain.

7
The idea of an e.s. shell
User Interface
Inference Engine
Knowledgebase on blood infections
8
The idea of an e.s. shell
User Interface
Inference Engine
Knowledgebase on chest infections
9
The idea of an e.s. shell
User Interface
Inference Engine
Knowledgebase on skin diseases
10
Shells
  • Some organisations avoid using shells for
    building complete expert systems but even they
    frequently use them for
  • training
  • building prototypes

11
Expert system programming environments
  • Some people make a distinction between e.s.shells
    and e.s.programming environments (or "hybrid
    systems"). For instance, Efraim Turban does in
    his book (Turban, 1992).

12
Expert system programming environments
  • Historically, this has been important because, in
    the 1980s, most expert systems projects in the UK
    used shells (as described below), and most expert
    systems projects in the USA used environments.

13
Expert system programming environments
  • Environments were so called because they provided
    several different forms of knowledge
    representation, for instance,
  • rules
  • metarules
  • frames
  • semantic nets
  • and several different forms of inference, e.g.
  • forward chaining
  • backward chaining
  • bidirectional chaining
  • non-monotonic reasoning

14
Expert system programming environments
  • They needed more powerful hardware than a
    microcomputer - usually, a workstation. Historical
    ly, e.s. shells have been more constrained,
    perhaps offering only a single kind of knowledge
    representation. They would usually be designed to
    run on a PC.

15
Expert system programming environments
  • However, in recent years, E.S.shells have become
    more sophisticated, and added multiple forms of
    knowledge representation and of inference
    strategy. PCs have become more powerful, and PC
    versions of e.s.environment software have been
    released.

16
Expert system programming environments
  • It is probably not useful to make the distinction
    any more. One could simply speak of "simple
    shells" and "sophisticated shells".

17
Advantages and disadvantages of expert system
shells
  • Advantages The programming effort that has gone
    into building the user interface and inference
    engine is re-used.

18
Using a shell advantages
  • Advantages
  • The level of programming skill needed to produce
    the finished system is much lower than it would
    be if the system was programmed from scratch
    using a language.
  • This means that, if an appropriate shell is
    chosen, the project can be completed faster, and
    cheaper.

19
Using a shell disadvantages
  • Disadvantages e.s.tools are "end-user tools".
    Compared with systems programmed from a language,
    such software packages tend to produce systems
    that have
  • poor documentation
  • weak security
  • difficult maintenance problems

20
Using a shell disadvantages
  • Disadvantages the problem of flexibility
  • If the shell is a poor match for the type of
    knowledge in the domain concerned, it is liable
    to produce a system which simply doesn't
    correspond to the expertise of the original
    domain expert

21
Using a shell disadvantages
  • In an attempt to model a non-standard piece of
    reasoning, the system builders may produce a
    "system" which consists of two or more expert
    system shells side by side. Such a "system" is
    bound to be unsatisfactory, and to lead to
    problems of use, maintenance and training.

22
The problem of flexibility
  • The principle underlying the expert system shell
    is that a knowledgebase can be removed from an
    expert system, another can replace it, and the
    system will reason just as effectively with the
    new knowledge as with the old.

23
The problem of flexibility
  • This assumes that the same inferencing techniques
    are used by every expert, and in every domain.

24
The problem of flexibility
  • In fact, there is evidence that
  • Different experts use different problem-solving
    skills
  • Different types of problem-solving task require
    different types of reasoning.

25
The problem of flexibility
  • "...it must be established that the logic and
    reasoning method incorporated in the shell
    correspond to those used by the human expert in
    problem solving, otherwise the project is almost
    certainly doomed to failure." Ian Graham, in
    Forsyth (1989), p.81

26
Factors involved in choosing a shell, or other
software tool, for an e.s. project
  • 1. The characteristics of the knowledge, and the
    style of inference, used by the domain expert or
    experts. 2. The time and money available for the
    project. 3. The programming capabilities
    available in-house (what languages do the
    programmers know? Is it feasible to retrain
    them?).

27
Factors involved in choosing a shell, or other
software tool, for an e.s. project
  • 4. The hardware available for development. 5.
    The hardware the system will eventually run
    on. 6. The required performance of the system.

28
Factors involved in choosing a shell, or other
software tool, for an e.s. project
  • The selection procedure should involve a)
    Doing enough knowledge acquisition to establish
    (1). b) Deciding whether shells are available
    whose inference strategies and knowledge
    representation match the requirements of the
    problem. If not, is the skill available to treat
    this as a job for programming in a computer
    language?

29
Factors involved in choosing a shell, or other
software tool, for an e.s. project
  • c) Establishing that software suggested by
    stage (b) will run on the available hardware, and
    provide adequate performance in terms of speed,
    etc.
  • d) Establishing that sufficient time and money
    is available for the project.

30
Factors involved in choosing a shell, or other
software tool, for an e.s. project
  • e) Establishing that any shell still under
    consideration has the capabilities required by
    the project.
  • Has it got adequate explanation facilities?
  • Can it handle a large enough knowledgebase?
  • Can it interface easily with other pieces of
    software which are to be used by the finished
    system?

31
Factors involved in choosing a shell, or other
software tool, for an e.s. project
  • These questions should decide whether the project
    is viable at all and, if it is, which shell, or
    AI language, or conventional language, is the
    appropriate tool for the job.

32
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • Acquire SDK is marketed by a Canadian software
    house (Acquired Intelligence Inc) as one of a
    range of expert system tools. The
    knowledge-representation involves objects (as
    used in object-orientated programming these are
    conceptually very similar to frames) combined
    with rule-based reasoning.

33
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • Product description, and testimonials, taken from
    their web site (Nov.2001)

34
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • The Acquire Software Development Kit (SDK) lets
    you integrate the Acquire inference engine and
    knowledge bases into your applications. You can
    build intelligent applications using many popular
    development environments -- including Visual
    Basic, Visual C, Java, Delphi, PowerBuilder,
    ToolBook -- or any other development environment
    that supports ActiveX controls or DLL function
    calls.

35
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • Acquire SDK 2.1 lets you operate multiple
    knowledge bases simultaneously within a single
    application, and lets many users access the same
    knowledge base at the same time.
  • Under special arrangements, the Acquire SDK
    libraries are available for SCO Unix, Sun OS,
    Solaris, and Linux, and can be ported to almost
    any Unix variant.

36
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • Easy to use -- you can build a
    full-featured intelligent application in Visual
    Basic with just a handful of statements.
  • The inference engine generates events when
    a rule fires, when a conflict occurs, or when it
    needs additional information.
  • Ability to utilize multiple knowledge bases
    simultaneously in one application.
  • Ability to deliver client/server
    applications.

37
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • Includes sample applications that show you
    how to build WWW applications with CGI or Java.
  • Ability to access the contents of knowledge
    bases, including messages written by the
    knowledge base author that can be used to give
    situation-specific commands to your application,
    and permitting customization from within the
    knowledge base.

38
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • Flexibility of data source obtain input
    interactively from the user, from the knowledge
    base, from a database or spreadsheet, or from a
    hardware device or other source.
  • The expert system is embedded - the user
    needn't be aware that an expert system is being
    used at all.

39
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • When we first discussed the possibility of an
    expert system in neuropsychology, I thought it
    was an interesting, albeit impossible idea. Now
    that I have used ACQUIRE to build two different
    knowledge bases (in neuropsychology and school
    psychology) I am looking forward to building
    other applications for my clinical practice.
  • Dr. Diane Russell, Neuropsychologist

40
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • Radio interference is a complex, diagnostic
    problem that all countries have. Using ACQUIRE
    has allowed us to build a huge, comprehensive and
    complex knowledge base (The Radio Interference
    Advisor) that is so well structured that it is
    very easy to understand, use and maintain. It
    usually takes up to three years to teach a new
    technician to be a radio inspector.

41
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • Once trained as a radio inspector, solving
    particularly difficult radio interference
    problems (e.g., intermodulation products) can
    still be very labour intensive. We are using this
    as a tool to speed up both the training process
    and the diagnostic process. It is an
    extraordinary learning tool, so it can also be
    used in the classroom.

42
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • We've been finding new applications for the
    software even before it's finished.
  • Dave Sinclair
  • Operations Manager, Spectrum
  • Industry Canada (Retired)

43
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • MacMillan Bloedel is using the powers of
    ACQUIRE to assist personnel in machine startup
    and to help diagnose machine breakdown. One of
    the greatest strengths of this product is that it
    is designed for the expert to build his/her own
    knowledge base.

44
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • Bypassing the requirement of a knowledge engineer
    can significantly reduce the project costs and
    lower the risk of misinterpreted information. In
    addition, ACQUIRE operates on a PC platform,
    eliminating the need to purchase specialized
    computer equipment.
  • Sharlene Yap
  • Computer Scientist, Wood Harvesting
  • MacMillan Bloedel Research Corp.

45
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • The ACQUIRE knowledge acquisition system is
    the underlying technology for an intelligent
    tutoring system for crew training. The resultant
    system, ACQUIREITS, inherits the benefits of
    ACQUIRE while providing the tools with which the
    general PC user can develop and maintain their
    own intelligent tutoring applications.
  • Canadian Space Agency

46
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • Analysing international trade in commodities and
    forecasting market prices are particularly
    difficult tasks. Each market differs
    considerably, and the trader or analyst must
    develop detailed knowledge of his/her specialist
    area. Mathematical modeling is often unsuccessful
    because it fails to represent this knowledge
    adequately, especially that relating to the

47
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • nonquantitative factors which affect commodity
    markets. ACQUIRE allowed us to rapidly model an
    important and complex commodity market (for
    Soybeans), paying attention to the psychological
    elements of "market sentiment". The resulting
    system, SoyTrader, incorporates a number of rules
    which make it a considerable advance on other
    formal models of this

48
Example of an up-to-date PC shell Acquire SDK
  • market. ACQUIRE allowed us to prototype
    SoyTrader quickly, and to achieve impressive
    forecasting results results which other analysts
    had doubted were possible.
  • Geoffrey Bastin
  • Economist, MIL, London, U.K.

49
Examples
  • One piece of knowledge represented in three
    rule-based shells.
  • Original knowledge, elicited from the domain
    expert (a salesman for life assurance products)

50
  • "Suppose the customer has a lump sum to invest,
    and they want to see some growth in the
    investment. Suppose also that they do want a
    pension, but don't need life cover. In that case,
    I'd advise them to buy an annuity.

51
Example Crystal
  • This knowledge represented in Crystal
  • Annuity
  • IF lump sum to invest
  • AND growth desirable
  • AND pension needed
  • AND NOT life cover needed
  • AND conclusion display

52
Example Leonardo
  • This knowledge represented in Leonardo
  • 1 if investment is 'lump sum'
  • 2 and growth is desirable
  • 3 and pension is desirable
  • 4 and life.cover is unnecessary
  • 5 then advice is annuity

53
Example Leonardo
  • Object number 2g
  • 1 Name investment
  • 2 Type
  • 3 Certainty
  • 4 Default value
  • 5 Allowed value regular, lump sum
  • 6 Compute value
  • 7 Query prompt What kind of payment are you
    prepared to make?

54
Example Leonardo
  • 8 Query preface
  • We have to establish first whether you wish to
    save regularly or merely invest a single lump
    sum. Later we may explore a combined approach.
  • - NB there are 18 slots in an object frame.

55
Example Guru
  • This knowledge represented in Guru
  • RULE R1
  • IF INVESTMENT "lump sum" AND
  • GROWTH "desirable"
  • AND PENSION "desirable" AND
  • LIFECOVER "unnecessary"
  • NEEDS INVESTMENT,
  • LIFECOVER, GROWTH, PENSION
  • THEN ADVICE "annuity"

56
Example Guru
  • REASON For someone who wants capital growth and
    a pension but has no need of life cover, the best
    use of a lump sum is the purchase of a deferred
    annuity.
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