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What is an Inference Engine?

Our brain processes and combines the heuristics intuitively. Unfortunately, a computer is no where near as effective as our brain. In Exsys CORVID a special program called an “Inference Engine” is used to analyze and combine the individual rules to solve the larger problem. The Inference Engine determines:

  1. What possible answers there are to the problem
  2. What data is needed to determine if a particular answer is appropriate
  3. If there is a way to derive or calculate the needed data from other rules
  4. When enough data is available to eliminate a possible answer, and stop asking unnecessary questions related to it
  5. How to differentiate between remaining answers
  6. Which answer is most likely, based on the rules

It is the Inference Engine that makes If/Then rules in an expert system very different from simple If/Then commands in a computer language such as Visual Basic or C++. Rules are not equivalent to lines of code; they are facts that are automatically combined in various ways by the Inference Engine. This makes the expert system approach far more powerful, effective and maintainable for knowledge delivery than traditional programming techniques.

Source: "A Guide to Using Exsys CORVID". Reprinted by permission.

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