This was a one-day meeting convened by P. Vidler and G. Wadge of the Geoscience Information Group at Burlington House on 20 February 1991. The aim was to provide a critical look at how valuable was the current and potential contribution of ‘expert system’ technology to geological problems. Ten papers were presented to an audience of 39.

In the first of four papers from oil industry applications, D. Wolstenholme (BP Research) gave a real time presentation of BIOMARKER, an expert system to evaluate depositional environment. The evaluation is performed from the knowledge of the molecular parameter interpretation technique used by geochemists on organic samples. The system is written in the Prolog language on a Macintosh and performs to 96% accuracy against a test data set. Another system concerned with applying expert knowledge to the interpretation of analytical data was discussed by L. A. J. Garvie (Bristol). INTERSTRAT aids the identification of interstratified clay minerals using X-ray diffraction data. The ambiguities and uncertainties in the data, with which the expert system approach is designed to cope, arise from poorly crystalline structure, crystal chemical variability and interstratification of structural layers. The knowledge used by the system embodies diffraction parameters for all the clay minerals and their variations with pretreatments.

A. C. Higgins & P. A. Swaby (BP Research) jointly described a much more ambitious system than the previous two, a visual identification expert system (VIDES) for microfossils. Developed using the expert system shell KEE on a workstation, VIDES is intended as both

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