A Brief Historical Review of Explanation in Expert System Applications

K. Darlington (UK)


Explanation, Expert Systems, Case Based Reasoning


The generating of explanation facilities have been amongst the most eulogised features of expert system applications. However, despite many years of research, many current systems still fail to meet explanation needs adequately, unless the explanations they naturally generate are augmented with additional knowledge. This is because the standard explanation feature in an expert system provides some problem solving knowledge, but little in the way of domain knowledge. Moreover, the augmented knowledge will often have to contain knowledge about the form of interaction during the explanation and user knowledge. This paper looks at explanation requirements for expert systems and traces the historical development of explanation by reviewing key research projects in first and second generation expert systems. The paper also briefly reviews explanation research supporting other knowledge representation paradigms such as frames and case based reasoning expert systems.

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