Version control in engineering design databases
This thesis is concerned with lifecycle data support for the design of large made to order products. These products have so many complex functions to perforrn that no one designer will have all of the relevant skills such as in structural design Z): or electrical engineering to produce a comprehensive design. This therefore leads to the utilisation of a team of designers who will not only fulfil logically different design roles but often work at different physical locations. In such a design environment there may be several local models, represented in local Z-- databasesT. hese databases may or may not support versioning either of the data or of the schema which evolves as the product design grows. The interfaces to these databases ID will be varied as they are intended to suit the local needs of the design aIgDe nt. This thesis proposes a model for version control in a desig4nn environment which does not alter the designers existing view. Cý tý A system of distributed co-operatinZg:, aZgD ents is presented whose goal is to manatDg e change and orgCaIDni se version sets in an enrgDin eering environment. The agents are designed for full lifecycle support and inter-operation across heterogeneous networks. The agent communication is based on CORBA but an extra messaging layer is developed which utilises a language built in VDM-SL (Vienna Development Method - Specification Language). A version model is presented in two ways informally based on the assumptions on a general design process and formally in VDM-SL. ZP tP In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the version model, two industrial case studies are presented. The first of these is a study of offshore process engineering. The second is a study of conceptual ship design.