applications of expert systems and knowledge engineering. An expert system implies a combination of a knowledge base and data linked to a general problem solver. This is in sharp contrast to conventional programming where the data are processed by “hardwire application knowledge” programs, that is, where the algorithms are processed in specially designed hardware.
Prototyping and new languages and means for specification make the early phases of development more specific; this process is important because a major task in software development is the fundamental system design. But fourth-generation languages are not always the only solution. As cutting-edge technologies advance, it is becoming more and more important to begin developing standards, formal or de facto, such as those put forth by standards-setting organizations and in operating systems of large manufacturers. Adhering to standards allows an organization to concentrate resources in areas where it can add substantial value.
The next crisis in computing will be the need to handle the rapidly growing amount of information that will be available in distributed data bases. This poses many challenges for research. For example, we need new ways of describing data and classifying relationships between data and finding and retrieving data already stored in data bases.
Increasingly, more powerful computers and complex software and artificial intelligence need advanced communications. The solution is fiber-optic transmission. The key achievements in fiber optics and related industries began in 1970 with the development by Corning of optical fiber. During the 1970s complete fiber-optic telephone networks were already up and running in the