Visual Knowledge Engineering

Eisenstadt, Marc; Domingue, John; Rajan, Tim and Motta, Enrico (1990). Visual Knowledge Engineering. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 16(10) pp. 1164–1177.



The knowledge engineer is only weakly supported at three critical stages in the knowledge engineering life cycle: (1) knowledge acquisition during which problem conceptualization must largely be tackled with paper and pencil; (2) knowledge encoding, during which it is frequently necessary to be able to navigate across a variety of knowledge representation formalisms; and (3) large-scale debugging, in which the graphical rule traces cannot cope with enormous rule sets involving hundreds or thousands of rules. The research described attempts to provide just such support through complementary visual programming (VP) and program visualization (PV) techniques embedded in a fully implemented software environment called KEATS: the knowledge engineer's assistant. Several novel visual programming and program visualization techniques aimed at knowledge engineers have been developed, which include (1) a hypertext transcript analyzer from which conceptual models can be generated, (2) a direct graph manipulation sketchpad which allows the knowledge engineer to sketch out objects and relations (including control flow and rule dependencies) from which code can be generated, and (3) dependency viewers which allow the knowledge engineer to examine and manipulate temporal and logical rule dependencies at different levels of granularity. How these facilities are incorporated into KEATS and the key themes that emerge from this approach to visual knowledge engineering are discussed.

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