The recent developments in ‘fifth generation’ computing, for example in the areas of programming environments and man-machine interfaces, have shown up inadequacies in the current generation of operating systems. In addition, most operating systems are designed to run on a single computer (uniprocessor or multiprocessor) and to provide a multi-programming environment. Consequently, they cannot realise the full potential offered by a new class of computer systems consisting of computers interconnected by a high-speed local area network.
In this paper we present a proposal for an operating system kernel to meet these new demands. We concentrate on one particular aspect of the design – its knowledge base. It is suggested that a knowledge base can provide support for more intelligent systems. It is further suggested that this knowledge base should be at the heart of the operating system design.
Some examples are presented to illustrate the use of a knowledge base to support more intelligent applications and to provide a better environment for the user.