Date of Award

Spring 1991

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Feng, Xin

Second Advisor

Alligaier, Glen

Third Advisor

Mulligan, Michael


Knowledge Acquisition refers to the transfer of expertise from a human expert into a knowledge-base that will be used by an expert system to solve complex problems and provide decision making advice. Knowledge acquisition is difficult and time consuming and is thus an expensive process during development of the expert system. To overcome difficulties associated with knowledge acquisition, it is important that the knowledge acquisition process be automated. The research and development of such an automated tool attracts great attention in the growing field of experts systems. The research and development of the Knowledge Acquisition Advisor (KA2), a tool that promotes organized and structured knowledge elicitation, and is applicable to both analysis (interpretation) and synthesis (construction) problems is addressed by this thesis. A new design concept, called the "knowledge cycle" is introduced in the thesis, which uses an alternative method to model the domain problem. The knowledge cycle is unlike other model forms because the design of the model is based entirely on the interpretation of the domain problem by the Knowledge Engineer. Background acquisition and information problems on of expert systems, the so-called knowledge "knowledge acquisition bottleneck" is provided in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 is a literature review of manual and automated approaches to knowledge acquisition. A discussion of several knowledge acquisition tools is also included. The knowledge cycle as a method of modeling the domain problem is described in Chapter 3. Design criteria, a brief background on LISP, and internal implementations of knowledge cycle components is discussed in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 is a further description of the KA2 program. The author's conclusions are contained in Chapter 6.



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