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Languages and semantics of grammatical discrete structures

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 1999

Engineering Design Centre, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Trumpington St., Cambridge CB2 1PZ, United Kingdom
Computational Design Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA


Applying grammatical formalisms to engineering problems requires consideration of spatial, functional, and behavioral design attributes. This paper explores structural design languages and semantics for the generation of feasible and purposeful discrete structures. In an application of shape annealing, a combination of grammatical design generation and search, to the generation of discrete structures, rule syntax, and semantics are used to model desired relations between structural form and function as well as control design generation. Explicit domain knowledge is placed within the grammar through rule and syntax formulation, resulting in the generation of only forms that make functional sense and adhere to preferred visual styles. Design interpretation, or semantics, is then used to select forms that meet functional and visual goals. The distinction between syntax used in grammar rules to explicitly drive geometric design and semantics used in design interpretation to implicitly guide geometric form is shown. Overall, the designs presented show the validity of applying a grammatical formalism to an engineering design problem and illustrate a range of possibilities for modeling functional and visual design criteria.

Research Article
AI EDAM , Volume 13 , Issue 4 , September 1999 , pp. 241 - 251
© 1999 Cambridge University Press

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