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Support for Knowledge Acquisition in
The Knowledge Engineer's Assistant (KEATS)

Enrico Motta and Marc Eisenstadt
Human Cognition Research Laboratory, The Open University (UK)

Kent Pitman
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT (USA)

Malcolm West
Advanced Systems, British Telecom (UK)

Abstract: The 'Knowledge Engineer's Assistant' (KEATS) is a software
environment suitable for constructing knowledge based systems. In this paper, we discuss its role in supporting the knowledge engineer in the tasks of
knowledge elicitation and domain understanding. KEATS is based upon our
own investigations of the behaviour and needs of knowledge engineers and
provides two enhancements to other modern 'shells', 'toolkits', and
'environments' for knowledge engineering: (i) transcript analysis facilities, and
(ii) a sketchpad on which the KE may draw a freehand representation of the
domain, from which code is automatically generated. KEATS uses a hybrid
representation formalism that includes a frame based language and a rule
interpreter. We describe the novel components of KEATS in detail, and present an example of how KEATS was used to build an electronic fault diagnosis

Acknowledgements: The KEATS project is conducted jointly by the
Human Cognition Research Laboratory at the Open University (funded by
SERC/Alvey Grant GR/7654) and the Advanced Systems Group at British
Telecom (funded by a DTI/Alvey Grant). The project was conceived and
inspired by the work of Chas Church and George Pollard at British Telecom,
with the encouragement and support of Peter Corke. We are additionally
grateful for the design and implementation efforts of Kevin Cunnington (BT),
Nikki Dick-Cleland (BT), Rick Evertsz (OU), Simon Nuttall (OU), and Tonny
Van Munster (Vrije Universiteit Brussels AI Lab). Tim Rajan (OU) provided
useful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.