Monday, June 14, 2004

Rules Redux

In the halcyon days of expert systems (1980's and early 90's), rule based programming was very popular since it was a straightforward way of representing user knowledge. Rule base programming environments also provide the opportunity to do data driven programming -- a technique that deserves to be used much more than it is currently used. Since I think rules are under represented in current development -- I will periodically discuss it in this blog hoping to at least increase awareness of it. I also am creating a section on my web page that will support folks interested in rule based programming. I would be interested in comments from anyone who is considering or is use the rule base technique.

If you want to get involved in rule based programming one of the best ways to get started is to use CLIPS. CLIPS is a rule based environment that originated at NASA and is quite good. It also is free and you can get information on how to download it and the excellent supporting documentation here. You can do quite a bit with CLIPS it is very impressive and highly recommended.

If you are interested in sampling the latest in rule based technology, then I suggest Production Systems Technologies and their RETE-II technology. Charles Forgy is the Chief Scientist of PST and the inventor of the RETE algorithm (used in CLIPS and many other rule based environments. Quite simply RETE made rule based technology commercially viable. I have known Charles Forgy for decades and have used everything from OPS4 to his newest stuff and it is great. PST's environments are commercial products, they are not free but they are worth it if you need to build high performance products. (BTW I am not involved with PST in any way other than using and liking their products and knowing Charles (Lanny) Forgy.)

I will have more on rule based systems and data driven programming in the next few months. Check here and on my web page for further information. Later!