An Experimental Comparison of Knowledge Engineering for Expert Systems and for Decision Analysis

Max Henrion, Daniel R. Cooley

Decision analysis provides a set of techniques for structuring and encoding expert knowledge, comparable with knowledge engineering techniques for rule-based expert systems. In order to compare the expert systems and decision analysis approach, each was applied to the same task, namely the diagnosis and treatment of root disorders in apple trees. This experiment illustrates a variety of theoretical and practical differences between them, including the semantics of the network representations (inference net vs. influence diagram or Bayes’ belief net), approaches to modelling uncertainty and preferences, the relative effort required, and their attitudes to human reasoning under uncertainty, as the ideal to be emulated or as unreliable and to be improved upon?

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