This paper presents an expert system (called ADES, i.e. ATP Design Expert System) for the automatic design of Automatic Train Protection systems (ATP). An ATP system is a railway signalling system constituted by a set of logic circuits that control the safe movement of trains within a railway station.
AI techniques proved feasible to address the particular design problem discussed: ADES is able to rapidly design good control circuits to meet operational requirements by using a well-structured, explicitly represented, in depth knowledge of Automatic Train Protection. The use of AI techniques facilitates the maintenance and extension of ADES to face new or unplanned requirements.
Implementing both the expert system and its environment tools in the PROLOG language, by using meta-interpretation techniques, has led to the rapid prototyping of the overall system. Optimization techniques have also been developed to allow ADES to be efficiently executed.