Using Negotiation and Coordination in Collaborative Design

K. J. Werkman

This paper examines negotiation as a means of conflict resolution among participants involved in the design, manufacture and assembly process of designing connections in buildings. A distributed problem-solvlng (DPS) architecture which models participants as semi-autonomous computer "agents" which reason from their perspectives during design evaluation is presented. The system, called the Designer Fabricator Interpreter (DFI), is a knowledge-based tool for providing a "collaborative design" interaction among structural engineers (designers), fabricators and erectors. The DFI System utilizes a novel incremental negotiation method called knowledgebased negotiation. Alternative connection designs are proposed through "agent" counterproposals developed from shared knowledge representations called shareable perspectives. An arbitrator agent helps the agents to reach an agreement. The resulting distributed artificial intelligence (DAI) based negotiation scheme provides a means for suggesting potentially "better" designs as a result of differing "agent" viewpoints.

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