Domain Centered Design Support [chapter]

Fatma Mili, Krish Narayanan
1998 Globalization of Manufacturing in the Digital Communications Era of the 21st Century  
Design is a creative activity by which artefacts are brought into existence. In engineering domains, this activity is far from being free. It is constrained by a !arge body of knowledge. In this paper we discuss mechanisms for integrating domain knowledge within design databases in ways that make it most effective for the designer, and most accessible for review and update. In particular, we focus on the aggregation relationship. Aggregation is a very common relationship in design, with very
more » ... cific properties. Explicit representation of the aggregation relationship enables a whole range of inferences and constraint enforcement by the system. 300 propagation of changes to designs while preserving compliance with requirements, and the intelligent co-ordination of related design activities. There are logistic, economic, and technical difficulties to the full and effective integration of domain semanlies into design support systems. One such difficulty is the initial investment required in capturing, encoding, and maintaining the domain knowledge. We are interested in design support in those highly regulated engineering domains -such as automotive industry -where the knowledge of interest is already being captured, encoded, and maintained for other purposes. For example, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) publishes a yearly SAE Handbook listing hundreds of requirements, standards, and recommendations relating to automotive design. In this paper, we present an approach to representing, using, and managing domain information in the context of design support systems. We contend that structure is a central concept in the design of physical objects. A large portion of the domain knowledge is explained and justified directly or indirectly through the objects' structure. Therefore, we seek a data model in which the structural relationship is adequately represented. Furthermore, design activities and contexts are highly dynamic. Design tasks cover a wide spectrum of decisions. Decisions can be well-defined processes such as the materialisation of previously defined structures through parameter setting. At the other end of the spectrum, decisions can involve open-ended tasks involving the definition of new structures in light of new requirements. We are interested in supporting the full range of decisions. The latter kind of decisions requires a representation of the structural relationships with explicit references to the requirements that justify them, and to the behavior that results from them. In section 2, we motivate this research and relate it to other work. In section 3, we present the aggregation relationship as an important concept in design. In section 4, we discuss the representation of domain knowledge relating to the aggregation. In section 5, we discuss the cross-referential knowledge between structure and requirements needed to allow the dynamic modification of structures and of requirements. In section 6, we summarize and conclude.
doi:10.1007/978-0-387-35351-7_24 fatcat:lckgdmjhlnhezpb2fg7aerudjy