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Title:The discourse model for collaborative design: A distributed and asynchronous approach
Author(s):Case, Michael Patrick
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lu, Stephen C-Y
Department / Program:Mechanical Science and Engineering
Discipline:Mechanical Science and Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Engineering, Mechanical
Artificial Intelligence
Computer Science
Abstract:A model is developed for use in software environments that provide automation support for collaborative engineering design. This model, called the Discourse Model, includes a structure specification and a process specification. Components of the structure include specifications for a blackboard-based workspace that incorporates frames, constraints, semantic networks, libraries of sharable design objects, software agent modules, an electronic messaging system, and a Virtual Workspace Language based in part on Knowledge Query Manipulation Language (KQML). Components of the process include procedures for identifying agent interest sets, applying state transformations to the design model, switching design contexts, identifying conflicts between designers, exchanging rationale, and tracking resolved conflicts. The model is implementation-independent and applicable to many research and commercial design environments currently available. The Discourse Model is implemented in the Designer Software blackboard environment. An example scenario is provided in the Architecture/Engineering/Construction domain that illustrates collaboration during the conceptual design of a fire station.
The Discourse Model has several implications for managing the complexity of large design projects that require the collaborative efforts of more than a few individuals. First, it fills a research gap between client/server based closely-coupled systems that use a single shared database and peer-to-peer loosely-coupled federations of software that incur high data translation and semantic losses. Second, it yields a new capability for automatic identification and dissemination of agent interest sets, leading to detection of unsuspected conflict areas between designers. Finally, the conflict detection, rationalization, and resolution protocol ensures that all interested designers have an opportunity to participate in the resolution of conflicts. Appendices include the Virtual Workspace Language and frame libraries used in the example scenario.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Case, Michael Patrick
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9512317
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9512317

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