Comax: An Expert System for Cotton Crop Management

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Science  04 Jul 1986:
Vol. 233, Issue 4759, pp. 29-33
DOI: 10.1126/science.233.4759.29


Expert systems are computer programs that perform at the level of human experts. One expert system, Comax, has been developed that acts as an expert in cotton crop management. The system has a knowledge base consisting of a sophisticated cotton plant simulation computer program, a set of "if-then" rules, and a computer program called an inference engine. Comax determines the best strategy for irrigating, applying fertilizer, and applying defoliants and cotton boll openers. Sensors in the cotton fields automatically report weather conditions to the system, and Comax reevaluates its recommendations daily. Comax was tested on a large farm and demonstrated excellent results in reducing the unit costs of production.