Failure Analysis of Information Systems: Reflections on the Use of Expert Systems in Information Systems

  • Erik Hollnagel
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 32)


One of the specific products of modern information technology is the expert system. Expert systems have been developed to support humans in handling the large amount of information on which more and more tasks depend for their success. The expert systems do that by applying techniques of artificial intelligence, mainly various types of reasoning, to cases where human intelligence is insufficient — either because it is too slow or error-prone or because it is a scarce resource (cf. Wiener, 1986). Expert systems thereby more and more often become part of large information systems — in addition to being Information Systems themselves. It is therefore necessary to consider the implications of the increased use of expert systems for the general approach to failure analysis of information systems. There are two completely different aspects of this:
  • • The expert system as an information system that itself may fail, i. e., as a target.

  • • The expert system as an aid for the prevention and diagnosis of failures in information systems, i.e., as a tool.


Expert System Failure Analysis Prior Analysis Reasoning Mechanism Symbolic Execution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Assemat, C. and A. Bonnet. (1986). Conceptualisation, coherence et validation des bases de connaisances. The 6th International Workshop on Expert Systems and Their Applications, Avignon, France, 28–30 April.Google Scholar
  2. Coombs, M. J. and J. G. Stell. (1984). A model for debugging PROLOG by symbolic execution: The separation of specification and procedure. Glasgow: University of Strathclyde, Department of Computer Science.Google Scholar
  3. Hollnagel, E. (1986). Cognitive system performance analysis. In E. Hollnagel, G. Mancini and D. D. Woods (Eds.). Intelligent decision support in process environments. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 1986.Google Scholar
  4. Hollnagel, E., G. Mancini, and D. D. Woods. (Eds.). Intelligent Decision Support in Process Environments. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 1986.Google Scholar
  5. Janis, I. (1986). Sources of error in the management of international crises. In this volume.Google Scholar
  6. Wagenaar, W. A. (1986). The Cause of Impossible Accidents, The University of Amsterdam, The Sixth Duijker Lecture.Google Scholar
  7. Wiener, E. L. (1986) Fallible humans and vulnerable systems: Lessons learned from aviation. In this volume.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Hollnagel
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Resources InternationalCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations