Modeling Engineering Design Information: An Object–Centered Approach

by M. Maher Hakim, Algor Inc, Pittsburgh, United States,
James H. Garrett, Jr., Algor Inc, Pittsburgh, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Computing in Civil Engineering


The benefits of applying object-oriented modeling techniques to represent engineering design information are now well recognized. Various approaches for modeling engineering design data and knowledge based on those techniques have been recently proposed. We argue that the object-oriented paradigm, which is class-centered, is inadequate for capturing the dynamic nature of engineering design data and knowledge because of its lack of support for schema evolution, object evolution, representing partial and inconsistent information, and representing semantic and user-defined relationships. We propose an object-centered approach for modeling engineering design information based on description logic. Description Logic is a knowledge representation paradigm which uses a `description language' to represent knowledge and data and a `description classifier' to make inferences from these descriptions. Description logic languages support the intentional definitions of classes, relationships, and objects. In this paper, we present the advantages of using description logic for representing engineering data and knowledge. We discuss how a description logic implementation of the object-centered approach can be used in two areas which deals with engineering information: 1) the representation of engineering design product models during design, and 2) the representation of the knowledge contained in engineering design standards and specifications.

Subject Headings: Computing in civil engineering | Computer programming | Computer aided design | Structural engineering | Computer models | Computer languages | Standards and codes | Knowledge-based systems

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