The aim of the application experiment is to introduce the CommonKADS (Knowledge Acquisition Data System) method and associated tool support to the KBS (Knowledge Based System) software development process of two user organisations, Rolls Royce and Associates (UK) and Technisystems (GR). The experiment will demonstrate the benefits to be gained from adopting structured KBS development methods. The emphasis will be on CommonKADS project management and knowledge analysis which, together with appropriate tool support, will provide the necessary basis for a mature and manageable KBS software development process. The project will measure the impact of using a tool-supported, structured KBS method on:
KBS project risk management
The two user's applications concern decision support in condition assessment of ship machinery, and mass spectroscopy equipment maintenance. These are complex problems in specific, complementary areas. For Technisystems, the size of an implemented system has increased to the stage where maintenance is a serious problem. For Rolls Royce, maintenance applications are ubiquitous, and reusability as well as maintainability of knowledge is a primary concern. Should CommonKADS successfully address the users' needs in these applications, substantial interest will be created for replication of such an experiment in other companies involved in knowledge engineering work.
The applications are in similar areas, which will help promote the sharing of results within the project and add weight to the findings that are disseminated. The results of the project will be disseminated through a comprehensive dissemination scheme, involving attendance and presentations at appropriate workshops and conferences. The results will be of great interest in the KBS industry; KADS is widely accepted, and a quantification of its impact on KBS development would significantly advance knowledge in the field. The results will also benefit standardisation initiatives for the KBS software process. For example, Euroknowledge, a CEC-supported standards initiative, intends to evaluate KADS as a basis for standards in knowledge modelling.