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Unfortunately, the features that make production systems suitable as models also make them tedious to read about. Lots of very simple rules, each performing a minute change on a big database: any model of reasonable interestingness takes many many cycles to run. To get a feel for production system models, it's essential to try lots of examples. So you may not have much time left to write an essay.

I'll set one anyway. Please choose one of the following questions, and write an essay on it. (If you want, you can write on more; it would be useful to have the others prepared for Finals.)

How do expert systems differ from production systems? Discuss the differing roles of AI as engineering and AI as cognitive simulation.

Recent advances in computer modeling lead to the conclusion that the mind is a rather low-grade expert system, with a grossly restricted working memory, and impoverished rule format. Thus knowledge engineering, the task of transferring knowledge from mind to expert system, becomes merely the task of transferring data from one rule-based system to another, and is hence essentially trivial. Discuss.

What, if anything, have production systems contributed to developmental psychology?

Production systems can simulate cognitive tasks. Does it therefore follow that the mind is a production system?

Jocelyn Paine
Tue Jun 3 11:26:14 BST 1997