A computer-aided conceptual ship design system incorporating expert knowledge
In today's highly competitive shipbuilding market the emphasis is on the production of acceptable design proposals within a very short timescale. A computer-aided conceptual ship design system, which utifises the latest developments in workstation technology, has been developed. It is intended to help reduce the technical and commercial risks associated with the process of tendering for newbuilding contracts. The system as a whole, uses fundamental modeffing techniques to enable areas such as dimensions generation, huilform development, layout design, powering estimation, mass estimation, motions prediction, work content estimation and cost estimation to be considered at a much greater level of detail at the concept design stage than was previously possible. This thesis describes the specification and development of those parts of the overall design system concerned with the generation of vessel dimensions and huliform and layout design. In order to improve the flexibility of the system, a so-called expert system approach has been adopted to provide the mechanism for the control of the design methodology. For this purpose, a unique expert system shell named INCODES (INtelligent COncept DEsign System) was specified and developed. The development of this shell is described in some detail. The application of the INCODES shell to the control of the logic involved in the development of design proposals for containerships is discussed, and the knowledge base developed for the generation of these design proposals is described. The knowledge base is shown to incorporate fundamental procedures for the generation of vessel dimensions and for huliform and layout design, as well as a comprehensive suite of analysis routines to assist in the verification of the design proposals. The knowledge base is also considered to be unique in its treatment of the investigation of the loading arrangements of containership design proposals. The flexibility of the procedures developed is demonstrated by their application to the generation and examination of containership design proposals which possess a range of physical and operational characteristics.