A Knowledge-based Approach Toward Computer-supported Cooperative Design

P. M. Wognum

The design of technical products nowadays is a complex process involving many individuals from various disciplines. At suitable time points during the design process, decisions made by these individuals have to be integrated and checked againts a huge number of constraints. Conflicts may be detected at such points. To resolve the conflicts, members of a design team must understand what caused the conflicts, how serious the conflicts are, and how the elements of a conflict interact. Negotiation between the members of a design team is needed to determine the steps to take to remove the conflicts. To this end, they need a common product model at all stages during the design process. Without computer support, maintaining such a product model will hardly be possible. In this paper we describe a knowledge-based approach toward computer-supported cooperative design based on a framework, called YMIR, for structuring engineering design knowledge. Product models built from the elements defined in YMIR integrate various aspects of a design. This characteristic enables various decisions to be integrated and allows for the integrated evaluation of a design against related constraints. The product model thus acts as a common model for design team members. It can be used as a basis for presenting conflicts to the design team members involved in the conflicts and as a basis for negotiation to resolve the conflicts.

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