Raymond Smullyan’s Retro-Analysis and Decision Modeling

When I learned that the famous Prof. Raymond Smullyan passed away this February at the age of 97, I felt grateful to the man whose books and puzzles my friends and I enjoyed reading as young programmers many years ago. Later on we shared them with our children. I wanted somehow to mark this event and decided to buy his book “The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes” to read on vacation. Ten days ago I started to read the book during my flight from Newark to Jamaica and… haven’t even noticed as we landed. Continue reading

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Automatically Learned Business Rules: Should We Understand Them?

Question: Should we worry that we’re building systems whose increasingly accurate decisions are based on incomprehensible foundations?

I’ve just posted an article with the same name at the LinkedIn Pulse that addresses this question. It is especially important in the context of rules-based decision making when rules that govern our decisions have been automatically generated using predictive analytics techniques. I shared two examples from OpenRules experience that explain why the automatically generated business rules should be comprehensible. The first one talks about the use of our Rule Learner at IRS. The second example deals with our Rule Compressor.

Solving Rule Conflicts – Part 2

“The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”, Francisco Goya

 Defeasible Logic and Business Rules with Probabilities

Modern rules and decisions management systems provide effective mechanisms for development of good decision models. However, building real-world decision models people always face complex issues related to diagnostic and resolution of rule conflicts. Some systems can effectively verify decision model consistency and diagnose rule conflicts. But there are no practically used Business Rules (BR) products that claim that they may automatically resolve rule conflicts.

In the Part 1 of this series I described how end users can represent their rules in single-hit and multi-hit decision tables while avoiding rule conflicts. But is it possible to automatically resolve rule conflicts? I will discuss this problem below. Continue reading

Solving Rule Conflicts – Part 1

Representing Contradictory Rules with Single-Hit and Multi-Hit Decision Tables

Modern rules and decisions management systems provide effective mechanisms for development of good decision models. However, building real-world decision models people always face complex issues related to diagnostic and resolution of rule conflicts. Some systems can effectively verify decision model consistency and diagnose rule conflicts. But there are no practically used Business Rules products that claim that they may automatically resolve rule conflicts (at least I am not aware of them).  As a result, it becomes a responsibility of users to represent rules in such a way that allows them to avoid conflicts. Continue reading

Combining Constraint Solving with Business Rules and Machine Learning – CoCoMiLe 2013

The integration of different decision making techniques finally is finding its home under the roof of the Decision Management movement. I am glad that an integrated Constraint Programming (CP), Business Rules (BR), and Machine Learning (ML) approach is gaining in popularity as well. An interesting workshop “CoCoMiLe 2013 – Continue reading

Fischer vs. Kasparov vs. Karpov

On a long flight back to the US I had a few hours to kill. So, I decided to implement one of my favorite modeling tests that I used to give to my students and they always enjoyed it. This time I wanted to try it myself with the newest OpenRules Decision Modeling facilities (see Rule Solver).

Virtual Chess Tournament
Three world champions Fischer, Kasparov, and Karpov played in a virtual chess tournament. Each player played 7 games against two other opponents. Each player received 2 points for a victory, 1 for a draw, and 0 for a loss. We know that Kasparov, known as the most aggressive player, won the most games. Karpov, known as the best defensive player, lost the least games. And Fischer, of course, won the tournament. Continue reading

Rule Engines: RETE and Alternatives

The famous RETE algorithm was invented by Dr. Charles Forgy more than 30 years ago and it still remains the foundation for most implementations of inferential rule engines.  Recently Carole-Ann asked the question: why after all these years there were no practical alternatives to RETE? Continue reading

Modeling Decisions for Scheduling and Resource Allocation Problems

“Reality is built in wonderful simplicity”, Eliyahu Goldratt “The Choice

Scheduling and Resource Allocation are traditionally considered as very complex business problems. They are usually out of reach for the most rule engines.  I personally learned how to deal with these complex problems during my real-world consulting practice by applying a great product called “ILOG Scheduler” written by Claude LePape and Jean-Francois Puget 20 years ago. I’ve just googled the product name and got this User Manual that has over 600 pages with a lot of C++ code. I used to teach ILOG Solver/Scheduler courses and will reuse some examples borrowed from them. Continue reading

Representing and Solving Rule-Based Decision Models with Constraint Solvers

The latest rules conferences RulesFest-2011, BBC-2011, and RuleML-2011 were really great events in general and for OpenRules in particular. We announced a new constraint-based Rule Engine that is the first alternative to Rete-based implementations of a real inferencial rule engine. Continue reading

About OpenRules Scalability

Being in real-world production environment for many years, OpenRules Engine has a proven record of high efficiency and scalability. Several years ago some of our customers (a major European bank and a large government agency) assigned teams of people to do stress-testing of our product before they decided to use it instead of commercial counter-parts. The results were really good. Continue reading