Sometimes a small experiment on the side can grow into something valuable. We at Cerner have long used forward-chaining rules engines to express and execute clinical knowledge, but we’ve also had to extend or work around the capabilities of such engines. Engines targeting business users just weren’t expressive enough to model some of our logic. To meet this need we are making Clara Rules an open source project driven by Cerner Engineering.
Clara took an unusual path, starting as a minimal implementation of the Rete algorithm to help my own understanding. After sharing this with others at Cerner, we started to see an opportunity to gain the modularity and reasoning advantages of a rules engine, while preserving the expressiveness and power of a modern programming language. We wanted to combine the best ideas of rules engines with good software engineering practices. You can see the result of this on the Clara Rules home page.
Mike Rodriguez has been essential in turning Clara from an experiment into a valuable system to fill a gap for rules engines which are oriented towards developers. More recently, Will Parker has also made significant contributions to help make Clara fast and reliable. They made it possible for Clara to help analyze millions of medical records every day. Therefore Mike and Will are joining as the initial committers to Cerner Engineering’s Clara project. We will welcome other contributors to make this step in the future.