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The model-based construction of a case-oriented expert system

Franz Schmalhofer; Jörg Thoben
DFKI, DFKI Research Reports (RR), Vol. 92-27, 1992.


Second generation expert systems should be based upon an expert's high level understanding of the application domain and upon specific real world experiences. By having an expert categorize different types of relevant experiences and their components, hierarchies of abstract problems and operator classes are determined on the basis of the expert's accumulated problem solving experiences. The expert's global understanding of the domain is integrated with the experiences by a model of expertise. This model postulates problem classes at different levels of abstractions and associated skeletal plans. During a consultation with the expert system previously unseen types of input may be used to delineate a new problem. The application of the expert system can thus be situated in changing environments and contexts. With increasing dissimilarity between the cases that were analyzed during knowledge acquisition and the specific problem that is processed at the time of the application of the system, its performance gracefully degrades by supplying a more and more abstract skeletal plan. More specifically, the search space which is represented by the skeletal plan increases until the competence of the system is exceeded. This paper describes how such a case-oriented expert system is developed for production planning in mechanical engineering.