On the Development of Commercial Expert Systems

  • Reid G. Smith


We use our experience with the Dipmeter Advisor system for well-log interpretation as a case study to examine the development of commercial expert system. We discuss the nature of these systems as we see them in the coming decade, characteristics of the evolution process, development methods, and skills required in the development team. We argue that the tools and ideas of rapid prototyping and successive refinement accelerate the development process. We note that different types of people are required at different stages of expert system development: Those who are primarily knowledgeable in the domain, but who can use the framework to expand the domain knowledge; and those who can actually design and build expert systems. Finally, we discuss the problem of technology transfer and compare our experience with some of the traditional wisdom of expert system development.