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Abstract

Rule-based systems (RBSs) constitute a powerful technology for declarative encoding and automated processing of large bodies of knowledge. A typical RBS consists of a knowledge base containing facts and production rules, and an inference engine managing the reasoning process. Despite their simple conceptual scheme, design and development of a RBS often turn out to be unexpectedly complex task. This paper presents an overview of issues concerning design and development of such systems. Differences between RBSs and classical software are exemplified, and design and implementation issues are analyzed. A novel, consistent, three-phase methodology incorporating conceptual, logical, and physical design is outlined. Moreover, tools supporting the complete design and development process are presented. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. WIREs Data Mining Knowl Discov 2011 1 117-137 DOI: 10.1002/widm.11