Showing posts with label MYCIN MOLGEN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MYCIN MOLGEN. Show all posts

Artificial Intelligence - What Was The DENDRAL Expert System?


DENDRAL was an early expert system intended at analyzing and recognizing complicated chemical substances, developed by Nobel Laureate Joshua Lederberg and computer scientist Edward Feigenbaum.

DENDRAL (meaning tree in Greek) was created by Feigenbaum and Lederberg at Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the 1960s.

There was considerable expectation at the time that computers capable of analyzing alien buildings for evidence of life might aid NASA's 1975 Viking Mission to Mars.

DEN DRAL relocated to Stanford's Chemistry Department in the 1970s, where it was directed by Carl Djerassi, a well-known scientist in the area of mass spectrometry, until 1983.

Because there was no overarching theory of mass spectrometry, molecular chemists used rules of thumb to analyze the raw data obtained by a mass spectrometer to identify organic chemicals.

Computers, according to Lederberg, might make organic chemistry more methodical and predictable.

He began by creating a comprehensive search engine.

The provision of heuristic search criteria was Feigenbaum's first contribution to the project.

These guidelines codified what scientists already knew about mass spectrometry.

As a consequence, a groundbreaking AI system was created that provided the most likely responses rather than all potential ones.

According to Timothy Lenoir, a historian of science, DENDRAL "would analyze the data, generate a list of candidate structures, predict the mass spectra of those structures using mass spectrometry theory, and select as a hypothesis the structure whose spectrum most closely matched the data" (Lenoir 1998, 31).

Around 1968, Feigenbaum said, he created the phrase "expert system." Because it incorporates scientific competence, DENDRAL is called an expert system.

Computer scientists took the information that human chemists had retained in their working minds and made it explicit in DEN DRAL's IF-THEN search criteria.

An expert system, in technical terms, is a computer system that has a clear separation between the knowledge base and the inference engine.

This, in theory, enables human specialists to examine the rules of a software like DENDRAL, comprehend its structure, and provide suggestions on how to improve it.

Starting in the mid-1970s, the favorable findings of DENDRAL led to a steady quadrupling of Feigenbaum's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency funding for artificial intelligence research.

DENDRAL grew at the same rate as the field of mass spectrometry.

After outgrowing Lederberg's expertise, the system started to absorb Djerassi's and others' information from his lab.

As a result, both chemists and computer scientists gained a better understanding of the underlying structure of organic chemistry and mass spectrometry, enabling the area to take a significant stride toward theory development.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read more about Artificial Intelligence here.

See also: 

Expert Systems; MYCIN MOLGEN.

Further Reading:

Crevier, Daniel. 1993. AI: The Tumultuous History of the Search for Artificial Intelligence. New York: Basic Books.

Feigenbaum, Edward. October 12, 2000. Oral History. Minneapolis, MN: Charles Babbage Institute.

Lenoir, Timothy. 1998. “Shaping Biomedicine as an Information Science.” In Proceedings of the 1998 Conference on the History and Heritage of Science Information Systems, edited by Mary Ellen Bowden, Trudi Bellardo Hahn, and Robert V. Williams, 27–45. Medford, NJ: Information Today

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