Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Computer Science


Blackboard systems are a natural progression of Artificial Intelligence based systems into a more powerful problem solving technique. They provide a way for several highly specialized knowledge sources to cooperate to solve large, complex problems. Blackboard systems incorporate the concepts developed by rule-based and expert systems programmers and include the ability to add conventionally coded knowledge sources. The small and specialized knowledge sources are easier to develop and test, and are hosted on hardware specifically suited to the task that they are solving.;Designing and developing blackboard systems is a difficult process. The designer is attempting to balance several conflicting goals and achieve a high degree of concurrent knowledge source execution while maintaining both knowledge and semantic consistency on the blackboard. Blackboard systems have not attained their apparent potential because no established tools or methods exist to guide in their construction or analyze their performance.;The Formal Model for Blackboard Systems was developed to provide a formal method for describing a blackboard system. The formal model outlines the basic components of a blackboard system, and how the components interact. A set of blackboard system design tools has been developed and validated for implementing systems that are expressed using the formal model. The tools are used to test and refine a proposed blackboard system design before the design is implemented. The set of blackboard system design tools consists of a Knowledge Source Organizer, a Knowledge Source Input/Output Connectivity Analyzer, and a validated Blackboard System Simulation Model. My preliminary research has shown that the level of independence and specialization of the knowledge sources directly affects the performance of blackboard systems. Using the design, simulation, and analysis tools I developed a concurrent object-oriented blackboard system that is faster, more efficient, and more powerful than existing systems. The use of the design and analysis tools provided the highly specialized and highly independent knowledge sources required for my concurrent blackboard system to achieve its design goals.



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