Since production systems were first proposed in 1943 as a general
computational mechanism, the methodology has seen a great deal of
development and has been applied to a diverse collection of problems.
Despite the wide scope of goals and perspectives demonstrated by the
various systems, there appear to be many recurrent themes. This
paper is an attempt to provide an analysis and overview of those
themes, as well as a conceptual framework by which many of the
seemingly disparate efforts can be viewed, both in relation to each
other, and to other methodologies.
Accordingly, we use the term 'production system' in a broad sense,
and attempt to show how most systems which have used the term can be
fit into the framework. The comparison to other methodologies is
intended to provide a view of PS characteristics in a broader
context, with primary reference to procedurally-based techniques, but
with reference also to some of the current developments in
programming and the organization of data and knowledge bases.
This is a slightly revised version of a paper to appear in %2Machine
Representations of Knowledge%*, Dordrecht, D. Reidel Publishing