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The application of artificial intelligence technologies encompasses a number of fields with opportunities for exploiting these tools to solve real world problems that traditional programming environments do not offer. Expert systems offer a structured approach to knowledge representation and use techniques to manipulate data in ways that may generate inferences not explicitly programmed. When encoded in an expert system, rules help guide the user through masses of data and the expert's reasoning strategies and rules captured in die system. An expert system approach to problem solving provides a flexible yet structured approach to many problems that extension specialists (“experts in a field”) now solve relatively routinely. The data-intensive nature of dairy herd management analysis offers numerous opportunities to apply expert system concept to the monitoring and controlling of herd performance. The ability to query the expert system rule structure during a consultation provides the user the opportunity to view the flow of the rules used during the session, thereby increasing the user's expertise and providing an instructional experience. The expert system development process is necessarily iterative and therefore demands a highly flexible programming environment. An overview of factors to consider when evaluating the potential for using an expert system for a particular application and factors to consider when selecting an expert systems programming environment will be discussed.
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Accepted: April 21, 1989
Received: December 7, 1988
© 1989 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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