Hypermedia and randomized algorithms for medical expert systems.

Chavez RM, Cooper GF. Hypermedia and randomized algorithms for medical expert systems.  Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine 32 (1990) 5–16.  PMID: 2205445

KNET is an environment for constructing probabilistic, knowledge-intensive systems within the axiomatic framework of decision theory. The KNET architecture defines a complete separation between the hypermedia user interface on the one hand, and the representation and management of expert opinion on the other. KNET offers a choice of algorithms for probabilistic inference. We and our coworkers have used KNET to build consultation systems for lymph-node pathology, bone-marrow transplantation therapy, clinical epidemiology, and alarm management in the intensive-care unit. Most important, KNET contains a randomized approximation scheme (RAS) for the difficult and almost certainly intractable problem of Bayesian inference. Our algorithm can, in many circumstances, perform efficient approximate inference in large and richly interconnected models of medical diagnosis. In this article, we describe the architecture of KNET, construct a randomized algorithm for probabilistic inference, and analyze the algorithm's performance. Finally, we characterize our algorithms' empiric behavior and explore its potential for parallel speedups. From design to implementation, then, KNET demonstrates the crucial interaction between theoretical computer science and medical informatics.

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Chavez RM, Cooper GF
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