Computer-Aided Processing of Design Specifications

by Surendra K. Goel, (A.M.ASCE), Engrg. Analyst; Sargent and Lundy, Engrs., Chicago, IL; formerly, Res. Asst., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Illinois, Urbana IL,
Steven J. Fenves, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 1, Pg. 463-479

Document Type: Journal Paper


Generalization of design process has been hampered by the fact that design constraints, as presented in the various codes and specifications, are written with hand computation in mind and are not readily adaptable to computer processing. Decision table format for specfications has been suggested to overcome this problem. A general algorithm for constraint checking, using the design constraints in the form of decision tables, is presented. The algorithm minimizes the volume of data required and optimizes on execution time by (1) Conditionally executing subsequent tables in the hierarchy only when the data generated by such tables is actually required; and (2) grouping data in the form of ingredients and dependence arrays. Conditional execution is implemented by recursive use of the same program segment. Provisions are included for recycling of the constraint checking for testing alternate designs or alternate design approaches by changing only a few elements of data, or both. Examples have been solved using the 1969 AISC Specification.

Subject Headings: Computer aided design | Computing in civil engineering | Algorithms | Standards and codes | Professional societies | Recycling

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