PROforma: Introduction

PROforma was developed at Cancer Research UK for the general purpose of building decision support and intelligent agents. The technology includes the PROforma language, a formal specification language (as that term is used in software engineering), a knowledge representation language (as understood in AI) and a set of prolog and Java tools for building applications in the language.

PROforma is essentially a first-order logic formalism extended to support decision making and plan execution, but it also incorporates a number of well known features of non-classical logics (e.g. modal logic, temporal logic) and two novel logics (LA, logic of argument and LOT, logic of obligation and time) to support decision making and action control.

The technology includes a suite of PROforma authoring and execution software that incorporate CASE and verification tools. It has been shown to meet specific requirements of medical applications though the language and tools are generic. PROforma has been used as the platform for a number of applications in the safety-critical area of healtcare. These include: REACT, RAGs and ERA. PROforma applications demonstrating guideline enactment over the WWW are currently under development.

The language, technology and illustrative applications are comprehensively described by John Fox and Subrata Das in their book, Safe and Sound: Artificial Intelligence in Hazardous Applications, AAAI and MIT Press, 2000.

Work of PROforma was awarded the 20th Anniversary Gold Medal of the European Federation of Medical Informatics in Copenhagen in 1996.