A Description Logic Based Configurator for the Web

Reference: McGuinness, D.; Patel-Schnedier, P.; Resnick, L. A.; Isbell, C.; Parker, M.; & Welty, C. A Description Logic Based Configurator for the Web. SIGART Bulletin, 9(2), Fall, 1998.

Abstract: Description logic-based configuration applications have been used within AT&T since 1990 to process over two and a half billion dollars worth of orders. While this family of applications has widely acknowledged importance, it is difficult to use for pedagogical purposes since the typical product configured is a highly interconnected, complicated technical piece of equipment like the DACS IV--2000.* We have developed a smaller--scale configuration application that has analogous reasoning processes but a more approachable domain---that of building home theater systems. This application provides a platform for explaining how Description Logic-based Systems (DLS s) work, in our case the CLASSIC knowledge representation system and how they can support industrial applications like configuration. CLASSIC** is an object--centered representation and reasoning tool with a formal foundation in description logic. CLASSIC and many DLS s are particularly well suited for applications in areas like configuration that must encode rich class and object descriptions; provide active inference (such as automatic classification of classes and objects into a generalization hierarchy, rule firing and maintenance, inheritance, propagation, etc.); explain the reasoning process; handle an incomplete and incrementally evolving knowledge base; and handle errors in a way that keeps the knowledge base consistent, but also provides useful information to the user. We will provide some examples in our domain that illustrate each of these areas. *DACS IV--2000 is a digital cross--connect system that processes digitized signals for some US standard transmission rates. ** CLASSIC is freely available for academic purposes, and commercially available for other purposes. It has been distributed to over 100 universities and is in use in many internal projects within AT&T.

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