Selection of Knowledge Acquisition Techniques Based Upon the Problem Domain Characteristics of P/OM Expert Systems.

The application of expert systems to various problem domains in business has grown steadily since their introduction. Regardless of the chosen methods of development, the most commonly cited problems in developing these systems are the unavailability of both the experts and knowledge engineers and difficulties with the process of acquiring knowledge from domain experts. Within the field of artificial intelligence, this has been called the 'knowledge acquisition' problem and has been identified as the greatest bottleneck in the expert system development process. Simply stated, the problem is how to acquire the specific knowledge for a well-defined problem domain efficiently from one or more experts and represent it in the appropriate computer format. Given the 'paradox of expertise', the experts have often proceduralized their knowledge to the point that they have difficulty in explaining exactly what they know and how they know it. However, empirical research in the field of expert systems reveals that certain knowledge acquisition techniques are significantly more efficient than others in helping to extract certain types of knowledge within specific problem domains. In this paper we present a mapping between these empirical studies and a generic taxonomy of expert system problem domains. In so doing, certain knowledge acquisition techniques can be prescribed based on the problem domain characteristics. With the production and operations management (P/OM) field as the pilot area for the current study, we first examine the range of problem domains and suggest a mapping of P/OM tasks to a generic taxonomy of problem domains. We then describe the most prominent knowledge acquisition techniques. Based on the examination of the existing empirical knowledge acquisition research, we present how the empirical work can be used to provide guidance to developers of expert systems in the field of P/OM.

Main Author: Wagner, William P.
Other Authors: Najdawi, Mohammad K., Chung, Q. B.
Language: English
Published: 2001
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