Knowledge Engineering

Presented by

Dr. John Durkin

4450:441 (undergraduate) 4450:693 (graduate)


Introduction to knowledge engineering and training in project management skills.


This course introduces students to advanced topics on knowledge engineering. Students are exposed to and learn to practice advanced knowledge engineering techniques that have evolved from past expert system projects. They are also given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of knowledge engineering by building and documenting an expert system that addresses a real-world problem. The course prepares the students for graduate research in the area of expert systems.

Project Management Skills This course also has the special feature of preparing students to meet the many administrative challenges faced by a new engineer entering their first job. While the series of engineering courses offered by most universities prepare students to meet technical challenges, they typically fall short on the administrative side. Specifically, this course teaches students how to:

The first half of the course is conducted in class through conventional lectures. During the second half students work on their project. They contact a representative from a local company to identify a problem where expert system technology may help, and obtain cooperation from the firm to participate in the project. They then combine the technical and management skills learned in the course to deliver to the firm the finished expert system. They also meet weekly with the instructor of the course to assure the project's progress.

Course Outline

Problem Assessment

1. Feasibility study

2. Risk study

3. Project selection

4. Study of past assessment efforts

5. Computer assessment strategy techniques

6. How to write the project proposal

Knowledge Acquisition

1. Review of knowledge acquisition techniques

2. Effective practice of unstructured interviewing

3. Effective practice of structured interviewing

4. Psychological techniques for indirect knowledge acquisition

5. Graphical knowledge analysis techniques

System Design

1. Selecting knowledge representation technique

2. Selecting control technique

3. Selecting expert system development software

4. System development tasks

5. Interface design

System Testing and Evaluation

1. Review of past testing and evaluation techniques

2. Review of past validation and verification techniques

3. Defining test conditions

4. Performing a double-blind test

5. Obtaining user acceptance

6. Field testing


1. Defining documentation needs

2. How to organize the documentation

3. Guidelines for designing the documentation

4. How to write the final report

System Maintenance

1. Need for good documentation

2. Think maintenance during design

3. How to write the maintenance documentation


1. Choose a problem area in which you can locate an expert in the local industry

2. Write project proposal

3. Develop a rule-based expert system using course software

4. Write final report

5. Present oral report


Project 60%

Proposal 10%

Final report 20%

Meetings 10%


Durkin, J., Expert Systems: Design and Development, Prentice Hall, New York, NY, 1994

Durkin, J., Expert Systems: Catalog of Applications, Intelligent Computer Systems, Inc., Akron, OH, 1993.


Dr. John Durkin

Office: 254 Auburn

Phone: (330) 972-6136

Fax: (330) 972-6487


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Page maintained by John Durkin, last modified March 1, 1999