Experience is at the heart of any decision, in business as well as in our private lives. It is based on what we have seen or dealt with in the past and the decisions made then with their known outcome that are guide current decisions. While our personal experience is only based on what we have in our memory, in industrial and business operations such "history" is stored in vast data-bases. But do operators when diagnosing a system, or bank managers when deciding to give a loan make use of that stored information? Or will they rely on their own memory because accessing and analysing those data-bases is too much time consuming? Most of the time they ignore the hidden but valuable information that has been collected.
To support human decisions in terms of time and quality, specific tools and techniques are necessary to structure old and new "decision cases" and automatically relate new situations to previous cases.
Such a technique, known as Case-Based Reasoning (CBR), has been developed over the past decade and has now reached a stable level. It supports reuse of existing information without tedious and time consuming collection and structuring of new information. It thus ensures short development and take-up time in a business organisation. Software tools are coming on the market and numerous companies have explored these tools and built successful applications amongst others, such as:
- Help desk support
- Diagnosis based on fault reports
- Configuration management of telecommunication networks, or pollution forecast
- Medical Picture Archiving and Retrieving
However, wide industrial awareness of CBR packages and their practical usage is still very limited. The US have successfully fielded several CBR applications but European awareness of this exciting technology is limited.
CASTING is a vendor independent project with the specific objectives of promoting CBR, creating awareness in the industrial sector on its potential and on how it may be implemented and exploited in practice.
CASTING identifies those industrial sectors that can gain maximum leverage from CBR based solutions. It also surveys and investigates the CBR products and solutions currently available. Suppliers and potential users are brought together in a series of seminars and individual round tables throughout Europe to present the general benefits of CBR by explaining solutions and approaches. The advantages and the practical usage of CBR tools are demonstrated by tool vendors and CBR promoters showing CBR techniques in a variety of application areas.
CASTING is the proactive intermediate between the users and the tool suppliers, triggering and monitoring pilot applications.
The CASTING supportive operations are undertaken in France, UK and Italy. Leading experts in the field of CBR and experienced users provide valuable information to decision makers, helping them to form a clear picture of the potential benefit to their own applications. These include the domains of marketing, commercial bases, logistics, order treatment and customer services, production and quality management control, and administrative services as well as data management.
Such an approach will help companies and institutions to increase the quality of their services and products and to optimise the relevant time management.
CASTING has validated the relevant information for an easy access to CBR including:
- Basic principles
- Sectorial application environment
in a CD-ROM available from the Consortium.