An expert system, in artificial intelligence, is a computer system that emulates the decision-making ability of a human expert. Expert systems are designed to solve complex problems by reasoning about knowledge, represented primarily as if–then rules rather than through conventional procedural code. The first expert systems were created in the 1970s and then proliferated in the 1980s. Expert systems were among the first truly successful forms of AI software. An expert system is divided into two sub-systems: the inference engine and the knowledge base. The knowledge base represents facts and rules. The inference engine applies the rules to the known facts to deduce new facts. Inference engines can also include explanation and debugging capabilities.
Expert systems have played a large role in many industries including in financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, customer service, transportation, video games, manufacturing, aviation and written communication. Two early expert systems broke ground in the healthcare space for medical diagnoses: Dendral, which helped chemists identify organic molecules, and MYCIN, which helped to identify bacteria such as bacteremia and meningitis, and to recommend antibiotics and dosages.