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Sunday
Mar142010

The Expert Systems Debate in Business Rules

In a March 12 post, Paul Vincent commented on the ongoing debate about the use of of Expert Systems to implement business rules. I blogged on this topic in a previous posting .Expert Systems (ES) can solve individual problems extremely well. Examples include the diagnostics of conditions with different, overlapping signs and symptoms. The ES is also proficient at finding a solution when uncertainty (salience) is involved.

I think this argument is more beneficial than the tiresome arguments about RETE versus Sequential. This is because the form and content of your business rules is affected by the underlying technology. With ES, a symbolic or 'domain-specific-language' approach is required. Sequential approaches such as Visual Rules only need visual metaphors (Decision Tables or Rule Flows) to solve the problems. Dave McCoy echoed my point here.

My opinion is that, for most business logic problem domains, the aftermath of expert systems based on business rules systems has fostered a extremely complicated implementation methodology.

If you are contemplating a business rules approach to improve your operational performance, then you should consider the tradeoffs involved. Certainly, if you are unfamiliar with these technologies, you should mandate a proof of concept that involves your domain experts.

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