Abstract

The slow execution speed of current rule-based systems has restricted their application areas. Multiprocessor architectures have been proposed to overcome this limitation. However, as the number of processors in a multiprocessor system grows, so does the cost of communication between processors or between processor and memory units. The use of optics for a fast and parallel implementation of rule-based systems is proposed. The proposed optical system is hybrid in nature, using electronics for the user interface and optics for the rule-based inference engine. The proposed system uses two-dimensional planes as basic computational entities and is therefore able to provide concurrent rule processing. Furthermore, it provides highly efficient implementation of the basic operations needed in rule-based systems; namely, matching, selection, and rule firing. The execution speed of the proposed system is theoretically estimated and is shown to be potentially of orders of magnitude faster than current electronic systems.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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