Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Expert Systems: Principles and Programming

Expert systems are getting better and better. ISABEL, an expert system for diagnosing pediatric disease is 95% accurate, a lot better than most physicians. And it has a cool natural language interface.

ISABEL: a web-based differential diagnostic aid for paediatrics: results from an initial performance evaluation
P Ramnarayan, A Tomlinson, A Rao, M Coren, A Winrow and J Britto
Archives of Disease in Childhood 2003;88:408-413

I'm working on an innovative project to manage "big workflow" around the surgery process in the country's largest trauma center. We need a good expert system for the workflow engine to interrogate so I'm reading the latest edition of:

Giarratano, J. and G. Riley (1998). Expert Systems: Principles and Programming, Third Edition. Boston, PWS Publishing Company.

The book has a CD with the CLIPS expert system on it. CLIPS is an open source expert system with a good download and resource site. The book and the CLIPS site are recommended if you need a refresher course on expert systems.

If you need a Java version that is not open source, check out Jess:

"Jess is a rule engine and scripting environment written entirely in Sun's JavaTM language by Ernest Friedman-Hill at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, CA. Jess was originally inspired by the CLIPS expert system shell, but has grown into a complete, distinct, dynamic environment of its own. Using Jess, you can build Java software that has the capacity to "reason" using knowledge you supply in the form of declarative rules. Jess is small, light, and one of the fastest rule engines available."

The book, CLIPS, and JESS will give you an excellent refresher course in expert systems. And ISABEL will help you diagnose your kids stomach ache when he doesn't want to go to school today. Recommended.


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