Research and Development in Expert Systems III M.A. Bramer, ed. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1987. 227 pp. $39.50.

Expert systems are computer programs that incorporate domain-specific human expertise. They grew out of the fields of artificial intelligence and software engineering, with the intention of offering a methodology for developing software capable of addressing the markets' increasing needs. By shortcutting some of the fundamental goals of artificial intelligence and software engineering, expert systems technology is founded on practical grounds with very little theoretical support.

Expert systems builders construct computer programs that capture some aspects of human problem-solving performance in a narrow domain of expertise. The narrowness and shallowness of the knowledge domain are in most cases proportional to the effectiveness of these systems. Building expert systems that operate within broad and deep knowledge domains is still far beyond the state of the art.

The programming technology used by most of...

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