The Challenge of Real-Time Process Control for Production Systems

Franz Barachini, Norbert Theuretzbacher

Although the technology of expert systems has been developed substantially during the past decade, there still seems to be relatively little application to time-critical problems because of their extensive computational requirements. One application area of particular interest is that of process control. Because this area requires real-time operation, the expert system must operate within the time scale of the process involved. Here we present techniques which have been used to implement PAMELA, a language suitable for building time-critical expert systems. We discuss substantial optimizations of the well known RETE algorithm and present run-time measurements based on these optimizations. Despite the critics on RETE' s real-time behaviour we show that the presented optimizations and extensions will cover the demands of many real-time applications. In order to eflciently support process control applications, some useful language constructs concerning interrupt handling and rule interruption are discussed.

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