The first rule-based systems appeared in the field of artificial intelligence, especially via expert systems. The purpose of expert systems is to reasonably reproduce an expert’s reasoning using decision rules and cognitive mechanisms: as such they are used as decision-support systems.
From a technical standpoint, expert systems comprise a knowledge base (containing a facts database and a rules database) and an inference engine. These components enable the system to produce new facts based on rules and facts in the knowledge base.
Today these systems are called Business Rules Management Systems (BRMS) or « business » rules engines.
In IT parlance, a « business » rule is a high-level description allowing to control and/or make a decision in a company or an organisation. The rules describe what must be done, i.e. the « business » expertise. These rules may be defined in various formats: simple rules (such as IF << Conditions>> THEN <<Actions>>), decision tables, or decision trees.
A BRMS comprises a rules engine (how to use rules to make decisions) and an environment for managing rules:
- creation, modification, and drafting
- verification, validation, and simulation
- life-cycle management
- rights management
The purpose of BRMS rules is to separate the « business » logic (the rules) from the IT logic (programs, programming languages, databases, operating systems). Thanks to this separation, users in a large organisation can manage their business rules without requiring assistance of IT specialists. Users can directly describe, automate, improve, verify, and connect decision rules.
This approach offers considerable advantages:
- reduced development costs
- improved reactivity and adaptation to change
Furthermore, BRMS tools are very useful for managing complex rules, a large number of rules, or rules which are frequently modified or adapted.
Eurodecision offers expertise in rules engine and BRMS tools:
- use and integration of the following tools: FICO Blaze Advisor, IBM Ilog JRules, JBoss Rules – DROOLS
- development of C++ or JAVA rules engines called from optimisation algorithms
- development of expert systems in Prolog
Examples of a few recent Eurodecision projects:
- automated bonus calculation
- verification of product compliance
- automatic configuration of action levers for rail capacity studies
- filtering of solutions compliant with regulations in a module for automatically assigning pilots to shifts
Eurodecision also audits applications which may or may not include rules. In addition, we perform studies to compare tools according to client requirements.