Implementing Qualitative Reasoning for Structural Design Using Constraint Propagation

by Ian F. C. Smith, Federal Inst of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland,
Boi V. Faltings, Federal Inst of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Computing in Civil and Building Engineering


All designs begin with qualitative reasoning and therefore, this activity has an important influence upon subsequent quantitative stages. In structural design, qualitative reasoning starts with assumptions that may become invalid as reasoning progresses. Furthermore, the presence of multiple design criteria leads to tradeoffs that also change as reasoning progresses. We present an algorithm for dynamically managing design spaces through constraint propagation and special strategies for conflict resolution. An example in preliminary bridge design illustrates several aspects of the approach.

Subject Headings: Structural design | Artificial intelligence (AI) | Computer aided design | Bridge design | Algorithms | Dispute resolution | Computer programming

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