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Expert Systems may be used to solve difficult problems that typically require significant human expert intervention. By emulating the expertise and the decision-making ability of a human it is possible to reduce the effort and cost of making the knowledge of multiple experts available continuously, simultaneously, and permanently; thereby increasing reliability and performance. This paper describes how the inherent advantages of expert systems can be embedded in a scalable process control system. It also presents a prototype of a highly interactive and user friendly environment that simplifies and speeds the configuration and documentation of an expert system and makes it extremely easy and intuitive for the typical plant engineer to incrementally apply his process knowledge. Such a tool can be used to monitor and control a process and to address abnormal condition management by continuously evaluating real-time and historical data, watching for events and abnormal conditions, providing reliable diagnosis and advice, and taking corrective actions when necessary in order to support the plant operators to manage their manufacturing operations. The core technology and functionality is implemented using CLIPS inference engine. The paper also details features of convenience such as the modular design of complex systems, partitioning of a knowledge base, verification andvalidation, simulation and evaluation of the expert rules against user provided data.
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