The goal of the Botany Knowledge Base (BKB) project was to create a laboratory for research on AI tasks that require extensive knowledge, such as novel problem solving, language understanding, and learning.
The BKB contains fundamental knowledge in the areas of plant physiology, anatomy and development. With about 180,000 facts concerning 30,000 concepts, it is one of the largest knowledge bases of its kind - i.e. its contents are structured and formally represented in an early version of our KM language. It was built at the University of Texas in Austin by Bruce Porter, Art Souther, James Lester, Jeff Rickel, Ken Murray, Liane Acker, Erik Eilerts, and others from 1986 to 1994.
The Botany Knowledge Base supported the research of four Ph.D. dissertations on sophisticated methods of explanation generation, automated reasoning, knowledge acquisition, and knowledge-base access. It resulted in numerous publications.
Moreover, the experience of building and using the Botany Knowledge Base taught us better ways of engineering knowledge bases, which helped us tremendously in subsequent projects, including Rapid Knowledge Formation and Halo.
Our 1988 technical report describes our motivation for the project and shows graphically, in the appendix, the core of the elaborate knowledge base.
Even in recent years, the Botany Knowledge Base has been used to support research on various AI tasks, such as knowledge-based information retrieval. If you're interested in using it, contact Bruce Porter.
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