With the dramatic rise of expert systems has come a renewed interest in the fuel that drives them-knowledge. For it is specialist knowledge which gives expert systems their power. But extracting knowledge from human experts in symbolic form has proved arduous and labour-intensive. So the idea of machine learning is enjoying a renaissance. Machine learning is any automatic improvement in the performance of a computer system over time, as a result of experience. Thus a learning algorithm seeks to do one or more of the following: cover a wider range of problems, deliver more accurate solutions, obtain answers more cheaply, and simplify codified knowledge. 6 references.