A knowledge representation model to support concurrent engineering team working
This thesis demonstrates that a knowledge representation model can provide considerable support to concurrent engineering teams, by providing a sound basis for creation of necessary software applications. This is achieved by demonstrating that use of the knowledge representation model facilitates the capture, interpretation and implementation of important aspects of the multiple, diverse types of expertise which are essential to the successful working of concurrent engineering project teams. The varieties of expertise which can be modelled as instances of the knowledge representation model range from specialist applications, which support particular aspects of design, by assisting human designers with highly focused skills and knowledge sets, to applications which specialise in management or coordination of team activities. It is shown that both these types of expertise are essential for effective working of a concurrent engineering team. Examination of the requirements of concurrent engineering team working indicate that no single artificial intelligence paradigm can provide a satisfactory basis for the whole range of possible solutions which may be provided by intelligent software applications. Hence techniques, architectures and environments to support design and development of hybrid software expertise are required, and the knowledge representation model introduced in this research is such an architecture. The versatility of the knowledge representation model is demonstrated through the design and implementation of a variety of software applications.