Components of a rule-based expert system [17]

A typical rule-based expert sytem integrates
A problem-domain-specific knowledge base that stores the encoded knowledge to support one problem domain such as diagnosing why a car won't start. In a rule-based expert system, the knowledge base includes the if-then rules and additional specifications that control the course of the interview.
An inference engine that implements the reasoning mechanism and controls the interview process. The inference engine might be generalized so that the same software is able to process many different knowledge bases.
The user interface requests information from the user and outputs intermediate and final results. In some expert systems, input is acquired from additional sources such as data bases and sensors.
An expert system shell consists of a generalized inference engine and user interface designed to work with a knowledge base provided in a specified format. A shell often includes tools that help with the design, development and testing of the knowledge base. With the shell approach, expert systems representing many different problem domains may be developed and delivered with the same software environment. This site's demos have been implemented with WebESIE (the Web-Based Expert System Inference Engine) a proprietary, non-commercial tool. For lists of shells that are free or available commercially, check the PCAI and Carnegie Mellon links under "Other Resources" on the home page.

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