CS 201 - Assignment 6

Due: by 11:59 PM on Friday, May 2nd

Writing an Expert System

In this assignment you will use a binary tree to implement an expert system.  An expert system represents knowledge about some problem domain using a decision tree.  Based on the decision tree, the expert system can ask a series of yes or no questions to solve a classification problem.  If the expert system fails (reaches a point where the questions it asks do not correctly classify the input that the user is describing), it prompts the user for the correct answer, a new question that will be able to correctly classify the input in the future.  In this assignment, the classification problem is "What kind of animal are you?".

Here is an example of the user interacting with the expert system (user input shown in bold):

Welcome to the Animal Guessing Game!  I will
ask you a sequence of questions with yes or no
answers and then I will make a guess. Ready?
Here goes!!

Are you a mammal? [y or n]: y Are you terrestrial? [y or n]: y My guess is kangaroo. Am I right? [y or n]: n I give up. What are you? horse Please type a question that will distinguish a horse from a kangaroo: Are you a marsupial? Are you a marsupial, horse? [y or n]: n Shall we play again? [y or n]: y Are you a mammal? [y or n]: y Are you terrestrial? [y or n]: y Are you a marsupial? [y or n]: n My guess is horse. Am I right? [y or n]: y Shall we play again? [y or n]: n Thank you for teaching me a thing or two.

In this example, if the initial tree looks like this:

           Are you a mammal?
/\
y n
/ \
Are you shark
terrestrial?
/\
y n
/ \
kangaroo whale

The final tree looks like this:

                  Are you a mammal?
/\
y n
/ \
Are you shark
terrestrial?
/\
y n
/ \
Are you a whale
marsupial?
/\
y n
/ \
kangaroo horse

Tasks

First, implement the expert system so that it starts out with the following initial decision tree:

  Are you a mammal?
/\
y n
/ \
kangaroo shark

By playing the guessing game with the user, the expert system should add additional nodes in order to be able to classify additional animals.

Extra Credit

Once your expert system program is working correctly, you can implement an additional feature for extra credit.  When the user chooses not to play again, the current decision tree should be saved in a file.  When the program is restarted, the program should try to re-load the decision tree from that file (falling back to the original fixed initial decision tree if the file cannot be found).

Hints

Your decision tree will be a binary tree.  The leaf nodes are answers, and the interior nodes are questions.

Extra credit option:: You can use a recursive method to save the decision tree to a file.  Suggestion: store each node of the decision tree as a single line of text.  The format might look something like this:

Question:Are you a mammal?
Answer:kangaroo
Answer:shark

Questions are followed by the "yes" subtree and then the "no" subtree.

Once you can successfully save a decision tree to a file, you should be able to read it back using a very similar method.  You can use BufferedReader to read each line of input, and then determine whether each line starts with "Question:" or "Answer:" in order to determine what kind of node should be created.  The rest of the line is the text of either a question or an answer.

The file that you use to load and save the decision tree should be called "decisiontree.dat".

Getting Started

Get started by importing CS201_Assign6.zip into your Eclipse workspace.  The class containing the main method for the expert system program is ExpertSystem.  A skeletal structure is provided; you will need to fill in the details.  Note that you will need to add at least one additional class: a class to represent the nodes in your decision tree.  To execute the expert system, right click on "ExpertSystem.java" and choose "Run As->Java Application".  You should be able to interact with the program through the Console window.

Submitting

To submit, first export your project by right-clicking on the name of the project (CS201_Assign6) in the Package Explorer, and then choosing Export->General->Archive File.  Save the project as a zip file.  Upload the zip file to the Marmoset server as Project 6:

https://camel.ycp.edu:8443/

You should have received your Marmoset username and password in an email.