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An inference engine is a tool used to make logical deductions about knowledge assets. Experts often talk about the inference engine as a component of a knowledge base. Inference engines are useful in working with all sorts of information, for example, to enhance business intelligence.
Experts point out that an inference engine is different than a rules engine, which is essentially a system to execute business rules. An inference engine is often a component of a knowledge base – combined with the knowledge base, the inference engine helps stakeholders to get those logical insights from the storehouse of information at their disposal. Various vendors offer inference engine functionality for getting actionable insights for marketing and business data. Bigger companies like Microsoft also offer their own inference engine tools.
For example, an inference engine may take certain facts from a knowledge base, maybe facts about where customers are located, what products customers have bought, or what transactions have taken place, and “infer” certain logical conclusions.