PROSPECTOR: A Computer-Based Consultation System For Mineral Exploration


Hart, P. E., Duda, R. O., & Einaudi, M. T. (1978). PROSPECTOR—a computer-based consultation system for mineral exploration. Journal of the International Association for Mathematical Geology, 10(5), 589-610.


This paper reviews the principles and status of PROSPECTOR, a computer-based consultation program for mineral exploration. The mechanisms for representing ore deposit models by networks of inference rules are described, and the overall approach is compared to alternative decision-making methodologies.


SRI’s Artificial Intelligence Center developed PROSPECTOR, one of the world’s first computer-based expert systems, to aid geologists in mineral exploration. The system attempted to represent the knowledge and reasoning process of geological experts. Its primary intended use was by an exploration geologist in the early stages of investigating a possible drilling site. PROSPECTOR predicted the existence of a hitherto unknown molybdenum deposit in Washington State.

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