A computer-based information system that uses its knowledge about a specific complex application area to act as an expert consultant to users. ES provide answers to questions in a very specific problem area making humanlike inferences about knowledge contained in a specialized knowledge base. They must also be able to explain their reasoning process and conclusions to a user.
The components of an expert system include a knowledge base and software modules that perform inferences on the knowledge and communicate answers to a user‘s question. The interrelated components of an expert system include:
1) Knowledge base: – the knowledge base of an ES contains:
• Facts about a specific subject area
• Heuristics (rule of thumb) that express the reasoning procedures of an expert on the subject.
2) Software resources: – An ES software package contains:
• Inference engine that processes the knowledge related to a specific problem.
• User interface program that communicates with end users.
• Explanation program to explain the reasoning process to the user.
• Software tools for developing expert systems include knowledge acquisition programs and expert system shells.
3) Hardware resources: – These include:
• Stand alone microcomputer systems
• Microcomputer workstations and terminals connected to minicomputers or mainframes in a
• Special-purpose computers.
4) People resources: – People resources include:
• Knowledge engineers
Using an expert system involves an interactive computer-based session, in which:
• The solution to a problem is explored with the expert system acting as a consultant.
• Expert system asks questions of the user, searches its knowledge base for facts and rules or other knowledge.
• Explains its reasoning process when asked.
• Gives expert advice to the user in the subject area being explored. Examples include: credit management, customer service, and productivity management.
Expert systems typically accomplish one or more generic uses. Six activities include:
• Decision Management
• Maintenance Scheduling
• Process monitoring/control