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The Expert System

There is a class of computer programs, known as expert systems, and they aim to emulate the decision making ability of a human expert. The techniques and methods used to build these programs are the outcome of efforts in a field of computer science known as Artificial Intelligence. Expert systems are designed to solve complicated problems. They use reasoning by knowledge rather than conventional procedural code. There is a set of rules that condense knowledge about a certain domain such as finance, medicines, flight, et cetera. The expert system uses reasoning to solve the problem(s) at hand. Rule based systems use a collection of rules collected and stored in a knowledge base. (1) It is important to stress that expert systems are assistants to decision makers and not substitutes for them. Expert systems do not have human capabilities. They use a knowledge base of a particular domain and bring that knowledge to bear on the facts of the particular situation at hand. (2) There are generic categories of applications involved with expert systems. Here are a few. Classification-Identify an object based on stated characteristics. Diagnosis systems- Infer malfunction or disease from observable data. Monitoring- Compare data from a continually observed system to prescribe behavior. Process control- Control a physical process based on monitoring. Design- Configure a system according to specifications. Scheduling and planningDevelop or modify a plan of action. Generation of options- Generate alternative solutions to a problem. (2)

How does an expert system work? A set of rules gathered through human experts in the field curated and given to an inference engine that, based on provided inputs, will return the best possible answer. Exactly how expert systems perform their problem solving depends largely on how their expertise is internally represented. Some of the more common methods by which expert systems internally represent their expertise are: rules, frames, semantic nets, and heuristics. (3)

After learning what an expert system is and how it works, a couple questions came to mind. What is the difference between the human expert inputting the knowledge base and the expert system. I found a few answers. Ill start with the human expert. The human has skills and knowledge that can deteriorate over time. Training the human expert is an expensive and time consuming process that may or may not produce results. The human is susceptible to emotional and psychological factors that may impair the decision making process. The human experts demand higher salaries and are hard to find. The expert system has these qualities. Expert systems provide permanent expertise. The artificial expertise available from expert systems is easily

reproduced and transferred, simply by duplicating the computer program. Expert systems provide consistent and reproducible results. The expert systems are relatively inexpensive to operate and maintain. (4) I wondered if IBMs Watson is an expert system. After a little research I didnt get a yes or no answer. Some say what Watson did on Jeopardy is not an example of an expert system. Watson did not need continual input from an expert and Watson also did not come up with any new conclusions. IBM considers Watson to be a cognitive system. So I looked up some examples of expert systems. I found an expert system called PXDES which is a pneumoconiosis, a lung disease, X-ray diagnosis. The expert system uses the inference engine to examine the shadows on the X-ray. The shadows are used to figure out the type and the degree of pneumoconiosis. This system also includes three other modes: the knowledge base, the explanation interface, and the knowledge acquisition modes. The knowledge base mode contains the data of X-ray representations of various stages of the disease. These elements are in the form of fuzzy production rules discussed in the previous paragraphs. The explanation interface details the conclusions, and the knowledge acquisition mode allows medical experts to add or change information in the system. (5) There are some dis advantages and limitations to the expert system. The expert system adapt to new and unusual situations easily, which makes the expert system not very creative. The expert system does not have the ability to learn by experience. The learning process comes from the human experts. The expert system has no common sense. It is very time consuming and expensive to develop the expert system.

With all that being said the expert system alone cannot be considered artificial intelligence. In my opinion the expert system is a good step in developing an AI. The more I researched Watson I really noticed some forms of expert systems. I feel expert systems will help the human race in a lot of different ways. The one that I think will be more beneficial would be the ones used in the medical field.

Author's Last name, Author's Initials. (Year). Title. Web Site Address.
1. Chapter 11, Expert Systems and Applied Artificial Intelligence. http://www.umsl.edu/~joshik/msis480/chapt11.htm 2. PerfectLogic Corporation,(2013) ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERT SYSTEMS. http://www.perfectlogic.com/articles/AI/ExpertSystems/ExpertSystems.html 3. PC AI Magazine, Expert Systems. http://www.pcai.com/web/ai_info/expert_systems.html 4. Oracle ThinkQuest, Expert Systems. http://library.thinkquest.org/11534/expert.htm 5. Julie Herzner and Miriam Kubiska, Dec. 1992, Expert System Example. http://www.rpi.edu/dept/chem-eng/Biotech-Environ/EXPERT/expmed.html