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An agent-based approach to concurrent cable harness design

  • Hisup Park (a1), Mark R. Cutkosky (a2), Andrew B. Conru (a2) and Soo-Hong Lee (a2)

An approach to providing computational support for concurrent design is discussed in the context of an industrial cable harness design problem. Key issues include the development of an architecture that supports collaboration among specialists, the development of hierarchical representations that capture different characteristics of the design, and the decomposition of tasks to achieve a trade-off between efficiency and robustness. An architecture is presented in which the main design tasks are supported by agents – asynchronous and semiautonomous modules that automate routine design tasks and provide specialized interfaces for working on particular aspects of the design. The agent communication and coordination mechanisms permit members of an engineering team to work concurrently, at different levels of detail and on different versions of the design. The design is represented hierarchically, with detailed models maintained by the participating agents. Abstractions of the detailed models, called “agent model images,” are shared with other agents. In conjunction with the architecture and design representations, issues pertaining to the exchange of information among different views of the design, management of dependencies and constraints, and propagation of design changes are discussed.

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