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 International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2007)

Managing and Benefitting From Multi-Million Rule Systems

Jeff Long

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     Last modified: May 31, 2007

This talk will discuss the idea that better representation and understanding of complex systems will require new abstractions and new uses of existing abstractions. One approach I have been exploring is taking system rules out of software and representing them as data. I will discuss several abstractions I have found useful in representing various kinds of complex business, linguistic, and biological systems as data. These include (1) the notion of numerous complex, contingent "Competency Rules" that define or describe the behavior of a system, (2) the implementation of those rules partly in software (like an inference engine) and primarily in data (like an expert system); (3) the notion of contingent rules having multiple "factors" or primary drivers and zero or more "considerations" that the system must review before deciding what to do next; and (4) the notion of the form of a rule, as contrasted with its content (like algebra). Reducing complexity cannot mean ignoring details, but must include seeing the larger picture presented by ruleforms. Several specific examples will be given from current and past projects.

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