American Society of Civil Engineers

Standards Usage Language (SUL)

by Han Kiliccote, (Res. Fac., Inst. for Complex Engineered Sys., 5000 Forbes Ave., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA 15213) and James H. Garrett, Jr., (Prof., Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg., 5000 Forbes Ave., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA 15213)

Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, Vol. 15, No. 2, April 2001, pp. 118-128, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: One of the major objectives in computer-aided engineering has been to develop computer-aided support for using standards in design systems. To eliminate most of the problems that occur when the knowledge present in standards is embedded in design systems, generalized standards processors have been proposed and prototyped by many researchers. In order for these generalized standards processors to be independent of the design systems that use them, yet allow for communication between them, a general and standardized communication protocol between them is required. This paper describes such a communication protocol in the form of a communication language we call the Standards Usage Language (SUL). SUL has been designed primarily to allow a design system to describe design information, ask for an evaluation of the conformance of a design to a standard, request the description of the feasible design space, browse the logical content of a standard, and request details of an evaluation. SUL provides this information in a form independent of the knowledge representation and reasoning method used to model the provisions of the standard. In this sense, SUL can be viewed as an application programming interface between design systems and generalized standards processing programs that check the conformance of a design against design standards.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Computer aided design
Computer languages
Standards and codes