The application of artificial intelli-gence technologies encompasses a num-ber of fields with opportunities for ex-ploiting these tools to solve real world problems that traditional programming environments do not offer. Expert sys-tems offer a structured approach to knowledge representation and use tech-niques to manipulate data in ways that may generate inferences not explicitly programmed. When encoded in an expert system, rules help guide the user through masses of data and the expert's reasoning strategies and rules captured in the sys-tem. An expert system approach to prob-lem solving provides a flexible yet struc-tured approach to many problems that extension specialists (&quot;experts in a field&quot;) now solve relatively routinely. The data-intensive nature of dairy herd manage-ment analysis offers numerous opporttmi-ties to apply expert system concept to the monitoring and controlling of herd per-formance. The ability to query the expert system rule structure during a consulta-tion provides the user the opportunity to view the flow of the rules used during the session, thereby increasing the user's ex-pertise and providing an instructional ex-perience. The expert system development process is r_-zcessarily iterative and there-fore demands a highly flexible program-ming environment. An overview of fac-tors to consider when evaluating th
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