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Applying Expert System Technology to Business  (text and diskettes)  

written by Patrick Lyons

published by Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont, CA, July, 1993.

  1. The Purpose - Expert system technology has the potential for satisfying many needs in management today. In order to apply this technology, the business student/professional must:
    1. Obtain insight into those business areas where expert system technology can be applied,
    2. Learn a knowledge acquisition methodology appropriate for business applications,
    3. Understand the synergistic effect of interfacing expert system technology with Lotus worksheets and dBase files, and
    4. Learn the mechanics of an expert system tool.

    The purpose of this book and software is to provide a means for the business student/professional to attain the above four objectives.

  1. The Contents of the Book
    1. To achieve the first objective, developing insight into where expert system technology can be applied, the book begins with a short introduction to expert system technology. First some definitions are made along with an explanation of the structure of a typical expert system tool. This is followed by a short description of a few historically important expert systems. Some typical management needs which can be satisfied by expert system technology are discussed. This introduction gives an overall sense of the capabilities of expert system technology. To develop this insight more fully, several applications have been included on a diskette. By executing these systems with VP-Expert, the student/professional can experience the use of expert system technology. Just as a picture is worth a thousand words, executing an application can be worth hours of reading and/or discussion.
    2. The second objective is for the student/professional to learn a knowledge acquisition methodology appropriate for business applications. Knowledge acquisition is the process of formalizing a person's conscious and subconscious knowledge. This is important because with expert system technology it takes less time and effort to implement complex decision logic than with conventional technology. As a result, expert system technology can be applied to applications which would be prohibitively costly otherwise. Chapter 2 presents a methodology that may be used by a typical student/professional. A significant benefit of this methodology is that it can be applied to a wide variety of business situations without requiring extensive training in artificial intelligence.
    3. The third objective is to understand the synergistic effect of interfacing expert system technology with dBase files and/or Lotus worksheets. For example, a dBase file can be used to store facts which would ordinarily be stored in a knowledge base. Using the dBase file, the skill level and time required to maintain such systems is significantly reduced. This is of great interest to business professionals. Similar benefits can be achieved with using Lotus worksheets. By studying the cases in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 and executing the included applications, the reader can learn and experience this synergistic effect.
    4. The fourth objective is to learn the mechanics of the expert system tool. An appendix contains a series of ten exercises created explicitly for this purpose. By performing these exercises and viewing the knowledge bases of the included applications, the reader can encode many applications.
  2. The Contents of the Diskettes
    1. A working copy of the DOS-based expert system tool, VP-Expert
    2. The Expert System Technology Assistant (ESTA). The ESTA knowledge base controls the consultation with several other interesting knowledge bases, and
    3. Templates for my Knowledge System Development Methodology
    4. All of the ESTA files are available to copy on the S: drive in the ESTA folder of my folder.
  3. Holdings
    1. New York City Science, Industry and Business Library,, which is one of the research libraries of the New York Public Library, To view the listing of my book in the SIBL catalog:
          click on the catalog
          click author
          input: Lyons, Patrick J
      The catalog reference to my book will appear.
    2. United States Library of Congress, To view the listing of my book in the Library of Congress catalog click on and follow links to catalog.
    3. - This is a link to an online bookstore at To see the reference,
          Click Search by Author, Title, Subject
          In the Author: box, enter Lyons, Patrick J
          Click Search Now
          Four items appear (as of 97June20), the first is my book.

                        (This page was last edited on November 25, 2003 .)