Custom-Tailored Development Tools for
Angel R. Puerta
John H. Gennari
Thomas E. Rothen
Samson W. Tu
Mark A. Musen
Section on Medical Informatics
Knowledge Systems Laboratory
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, California 94305-5479, U.S.A.
October 2, 1994
Protege-ii is a development environment for knowledge-based systems. Protege-ii
supports developers by providing a series of development tools. Dash, which is part
of the protege-ii tool set, is a metalevel tool that uses domain ontologies (which are
models of domain concepts and relationships among concepts) as the basis for generating
domain-specic knowledge-acquisition tools. Domain experts use the tools that dash
generates to enter the knowledge required for problem solving. Dash generates target
tools in a series of design steps, and it uses sets of design rules as the basis for the
transitions among the design stages.
During the 1980's, knowledge-based systems were heralded as a new type of software designed
to provide expert advice to end users. However, the development of knowledge-based systems
that are adequate and usable for the end users has proven more dicult than expected initially.
Many researchers and practitioners have highlighted the problem of insucient integration
with other, preexisting software components. Although developers can solve many of these
problems by careful system design, the construction of knowledge-based systems is often
costly, and the problem-solving performance of the systems may be insucient for their tasks.
Even problems that are relatively simple for human experts may require complex software
Present address: Department of Computer and Information Science, Linkoping University, S-581 83
yPresent address: Psychologisches Institut der Universitat Zurich, FG Psychologische Methodenlehre,
Zurichbergstr. 43, CH-8044 Zurich, Switzerland
solutions. Developers require adequate tools to build such complex knowle