Design method and management utility enabling the concurrent exercise of distributed expertise

Tsiotsias, Andreas Stylianos (1994) Design method and management utility enabling the concurrent exercise of distributed expertise. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Concurrency of engineering activities requires a utility allowing designers, working at all phases of design to: communicate the design requirements to specialists and external technologists, elicit responses and integrate the resulting actions with the design solution; acquire resources which are functionally and geographically distributed; communicate a formally agreed product description to the collaborating agents. The creation of such a utility is presented here which employs techniques of knowledge engineering to represent the entities and methods used in design. The utility manages representations within existing standards and methods, including communication at interfaces, resolves constraint conflict during design by referring dependency relationships, is unitary and can be made recursive in its operation. The Glasgow Utility for the Integration of Design (GUIDE) employs the methods of knowledge engineering to secure a basis for design by a multidisciplinary team, the membership of which may be distributed and will vary as the product emerges through successive design phases. GUIDE offers designers a range of design functions which may be applied to the task performed through a single interface and without operational prescription. GUIDE maintains a single product description, which includes integrally a record of the entire design activity. It also provides distributed data base access and communications facilities. GUIDE employs a representation scheme which involves structures, atoms and methods as its elements. Additional characteristics have been invested in these elements to provide for their manipulation and control. With GUIDE and the tools it provides designers can create graphical, data and information related working entities and involve active processes. Process entities may invoke proprietary tools, provide translation at their interfaces and sustain the required communication with various engineering and product centred data bases. Operations on design entities and information generation processes are managed by control functions which can also cause data transformations. GUIDE has the capacity to aggregate generic, modularly defined knowledge representations to create higher level, formally constructed unique design solutions or part solutions and to manage associations between design entities and the constraints affecting them. GUIDE'S design record - the route taken and that structured information generated during design - provides a mechanism for the accumulation of expertise which can be used in future designs. In addition to the actual outputs of a design, such as the part description in its various forms, a designer could obtain information concerning the design tasks undertaken and their sequence. The design record enables design traceability and audit of the design process, sustains status evaluations and provides for regression. The concepts, design and implementation of GUIDE are described. Three examples are used to illustrate GUIDE'S capacity to support the operations of design teams, the constant availability of a multidimensional product model which exposes tasks more quickly and precisely and the ability logically to collocate design teams through product model coincidence. GUIDE provides an extension to knowledge representation using frames through the characteristics of the elements it employs and by the way its control mechanism manages operations upon and communication between them. Links formed between elements and between elements and methods can be described in a structured way. Constraints are represented as methods which can evolve over time and may influence the use of other GUIDE elements. Relational data bases are used to hold the knowledge representations employed and GUIDE exploits the relational architecture to physically distribute the representations and maintain their integrity. The design record contains comprehensive meta knowledge and supports the abstraction of formal generic representations from specific instances.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Brian F Scott
Keywords: Systems science
Date of Award: 1994
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1994-71008
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 May 2019 14:28
Last Modified: 09 May 2019 14:28
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71008

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