In this paper, the use of hybrid expert system shells and hybrid (i.e., algorithmic and heuristic) approaches for solving engineering problems is reported. Aspects of various engineering problem domains are reviewed for a numer of examples with specific applications made to recently developed prototype expert systems. Based on this prototyping experience, critical evaluations of and comparisons between commercially available tools, and some research tools, in the United States and Australia, and their underlying problem-solving paradigms are made. Characteristics of the implementation tool and the engineering domain are compared and practical software engineering issues are discussed with respect to hybrid tools and approaches. Finally, guidelines are offered with the hope that expert system development will be less time consuming, more effective, and more cost-effective than it has been in the past.

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