Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Applied Sciences Honours


Faculty of Science and Technology

First Supervisor

Dr Chaiyapom Chirathamjaree


This paper describes a pilot expert system project, PESWEA, developed in conjunction with The Western Australian Government Railways Commission (Westrail), to locate and implement an expert system pilot solution to the problems and complexities of the awards. The paper will outline the process used to develop and implement a solution to a business requirement. In particular, the methodologies for the project, shell selection, and knowledge acquisition will be presented and discussed. The fundamentals of expert systems will be discussed to provide the reader an insight into the technology. In addition, this paper reviews the literature relevant to the research questions. Empirical findings in the literature are discussed and analysed to discover how they influence the work in this paper. The topics covered include the concepts of expert system shell selection, knowledge acquisition and representation. and the integration of expert systems and database systems. A case study on a similar pilot system conducted by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) is also reviewed. The PESWEA knowledge-bases were implemented with the 1st-Class HT expert system shell which succeeded in meeting the selection criteria for the first study in this project. The work carried out has also confirmed that the expert system techniques can be used to gather and interpret information from manual time- sheets which are subject to a complex arbitration award. Furthermore, PESWEA utilised the Inter-system Communication approach to systems interfacing, with the DataFlex database system dominating the concentration of processing and control. The technical and business objectives of PESWEA have been achieved with success. This study has confirmed SECV's own research into the applicability of expert system techniques for award implementation. From this study, Westrail and Edith Cowan University believe that expert systems technology can now be integrated into the mainstream programming techniques at Westrail.