Improving Implementation of Graphical User Interfaces for Object-Oriented Knowledge-Bases

University dissertation from Linköping, Sweden : Linköpings universitet

Abstract: Second generation knowledge-based systems have raised the focus of research from rule-based to model-based systems. Model-based systems allow knowledge to be separated into target domain model knowledge and problem solving knowledge. This work supports and builds on the hypothesis that fully object-oriented knowledge-bases provide the best properties for managing large amounts of target domain model knowledge. The ease by which object-oriented representations can be mapped to efficient graphical user interfaces is also beneficial for building interactive graphical knowledge acquisition and maintenance tools. These allow experts to incrementally enter and maintain larger quantities of knowledge in knowledge-bases without support from a knowledge engineer. The thesis points to recent advances in the conception of knowledge-based systems. It shows the need for efficient user interfaces for management of large amounts of heterogeneous knowledge components. It describes a user interface software architecture for implementing interactive graphical knowledge-base browsers and editors for such large knowledge-bases. The architecture has been inspired by object-oriented programming and data-bases, infological theory, cognitive psychology and practical implementation work. The goal with the user interface software architecture has been to facilitate the implementation of flexible interactive environments that support creative work. Theoretical models of the entire user interaction situation including the knowledge-base, the user interface and the user are described. The models indicate how theoretical comparisons of different user interface designs can be made by using certain suggested measures. The architecture was developed in the frame of a cooperative project with the Department of Mechanical Engineering on developing a knowledge-based intelligent front end for a computer aided engineering system for damage tolerance design on aircraft structures.

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