Inference Engine

An artificial intelligence (AI) concept.
AI systems depend on building up a body of knowledge and rules covering a 'knowledge domain' such as Medicine or Engineering Design.

These rules and knowledge are held in some kind of database (such as a network database). Once stored, answers to problems posed are obtained by having an 'Inference Engine' make intelliegent use of the database.

The Inference Engine takes the problem as input and applies it to the knowledge base to see if a conclusion can be reached.

For example, an expert system specialising in diagnosing illnesses. The doctor would input a set of symptoms the patient is presenting and then the inference engine would provide a list of possible illnesses. It is then up to the doctor to explore the answers. In that sense, the inference engine acts as an knowlegable assistant.

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