Diagrammatic Reasoning in Structural Analysis

Y. Iwasaki and S. Tessler

In human reasoning about the behavior of the physical world, the importance of the role that diagrams play cannot be over-emphasized. We are undertaking a project aimed at studying the power of visual reasoning and developing techniques for making use of visual reasoning in a specific problem solving context in physical domains. The problem we will solve is determination of the deflection shape of the frame structure of a building under a load. We are constructing a computer program that solves this problem using a diagram in a way similar to human engineers. Given a specification of a frame structure and a load, the program will produce a diagrammatic representation of the deflected shape of the structure. It modifies and inspects the deflected shape using structural engineering knowledge until it finally produces a stable deflection shape under the given load.


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