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This paper concerns methods for the application of knowledge-based techniques to preliminary structural design. Different methods which can be used to improve software for computer aided design and engineering are discussed. A practical study of these methods is made by developing a prototype for preliminary design of highway bridges. In order to allow the design engineer to test different alternatives and to see the consequences of a certain design choice or design step a method which enablesdoi:10.5169/seals-51858 fatcat:5qduv4co2jd73hvkzkv4wnzvhm