Full accounts of the JTEC team's visits to three universities and three national projects are contained in Chapters 4 and 5, respectively, and are not repeated here in full. Addresses for these organizations can be found here.

1015 Kamikodanaka
Kawasaki 211, Japan

Date Visited: March 23, 1992

JTEC Attendees:



Dr. Shigeru Sato

Managing Director

Mr. Tomoharu Mohri

Deputy Mgr., Knowledge Processing Laboratory

Mr. Jun'ichi Tanahashi

General Mgr., Adv. Inf. Sys. Div.

Mr. Hiromu Hayashi

General Mgr., Processor Div.

Yasubumi Sakakibara

Fundamental Informatics Section

Fumihiro Maruyama

Knowledge Processing Laboratory

From Fujitsu Ltd: Susumu Murakami

Mgr., 2nd Section, CAE Dept., Eng. Support Div.

Jun-ichi Komoda

Section Manager, Knowledge Based Systems

Hitohide Usami

Section Manager, AI Development & Support
Section, SE Information Development Dept.

Fujitsu, the second largest computer company in the world, has been marketing AI tools, especially ESHELL, since 1984. They also have several products, e.g., for machine translation, and hardware for neuro-computing. ESHELL, which used to be the best selling ES tool in Japan, is now trailing behind Hitachi's ES/KERNEL. ESHELL began as a tool on mainframes using UTLISP. The market is shifting to products on UNIX-based workstations written in C. Fujitsu is trying to recapture the market with FORTRAN-based and COBOL-based tools, but its commitment to mainframes may be bucking the trend (not only in the ES area).

There are three groups involved with KBS:

The Research Laboratory (Sato et al.)
Product Development (Komoda, Murakami)
Systems Engineering/Knowledge Engineering, which makes the contacts with clients (Usami)

The meeting began with a number of interesting comments, from director of the laboratory, Dr. Sato, whose association with KBS technology goes back to the late 1970s:

Our hosts at Fujitsu did a very good job in filling out Part A of the questionnaire. Highlights:

Mr. Maruyama presented a novel approach to solving constraint satisfaction and optimization problems which purports to be better than integer programming (Maruyama, Minoda et al. 1991). He works at the Knowledge Processing Laboratory, which has a staff of about 40.


Question 8:

ESHELL cannot keep up with real time. FORTRAN and C are the procedural languages used.

Question 15:

Fujitsu gave up development half way through one project due to manpower and budget shortages.

Question 16:

Existing tools are useful up to 2,000 rules, several thousand objects, though NKK used 4,000 rules in ESHELL for its blast furnace application.

Question 19 (main problems seen with existing technology):

  1. GUI, as mentioned above.
  2. Knowledge changes very fast in the real world (e.g., banking), hence the maintenance cost is too high.
  3. There are few development tools, e.g., testing tools.
  4. AI does not apply well to CASE.

Published: May 1993; WTEC Hyper-Librarian