Expert Systems Enter the Marketplace

by Kneeland A. Godfrey, Sr. Ed.; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1986, Vol. 56, Issue 5, Pg. 70-73

Document Type: Feature article


Civil engineering expert systems (computer programs that incorporate some of the decision-making capabilities of the top experts in a given subdiscipline) are beginning to come on the market. This article describes two already in use—PumpPro, which helps diagnose pump problems; and CHINA, which speeds the design of highway noise barriers. Also described are four now being written—HOWSAFE, created to help contractors determine how good is their worker-safety performance; SAFEQUAL, for prospective buyers of construction services to use in evaluating contractors on the basis of their safety records; DURCON, a computer-program counterpart of the American Concrete Institute report Guide to Durable Concrete; and Intelligent Interfaces to Military Construction Databases, which enables non-specialists to communicate with the Army's military construction project database that describes some 15,000 present and proposed projects. Although expert systems are not as valuable as top experts on a subject, they are considerably more knowledgeable (at least the best of the systems) than human novices.

Subject Headings: Occupational safety | Concrete construction | Labor | Expert systems | Business management | Systems engineering | Highway and road design | Highway barriers | China | Asia

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