Diagnosing Delivery Problems in the White House Information Distribution System

Mark Nahabedian, Howard Shrobe

As part of a collaboration with the White House Office of Media Affairs, members of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory designed a system, called COMLINK, which distributes a daily stream of documents released by the Office of Media Affairs. Approximately 4000 direct subscribers receive information from this service but more than 100,000 people receive the information through redistribution channels. The information is distributed via Email and the World Wide Web. In such a large scale distribution scheme, there is a constant problem of subscriptions becoming invalid because the user’s Email account has terminated. This causes a backwash of hundreds of "bounced mail" messages per day which must be processed by the operators of the COMLINK system. To manage this annoying but necessary task, an expert system named BMES was developed to diagnose the failures of information delivery.

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