Any attempt to utilize computer aids to automate or partially automate the design process must resolve the problem of representing the design artifact in a manner that is suited both to computer manipulation and to engineering analysis, and subsequently to design. Recognizing these needs, we have devised a model, referred to as the description system, that is based on the frame technique of description or knowledge representation. Our goals were to explore the suitability of frames for modeling design artifacts, evaluate their characteristics, explore their robustness and assess their applicability in the structural engineering domain. This paper reports on the development of a computer implementation of a system, referred to as a description system, designed to achieve these goals. The description system consists of three levels: the system shell; the knowledge base; and instantiations of descriptions. This system implements various facilities which are useful to designers, including the computation of design values, integrity maintenance, providing default values, and supporting explanation. This paper presents an overview of the three levels of the description system, briefly discusses its main features and illustrates a civil engineering application involving the design of a two-storey structure.

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Engineering with Computers
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Glass, A. (Alan), Holtz, N, & Rasdorf, W.J. (William J.). (1994). A system for describing design artifacts using the knowledge representation technique of frames. Engineering with Computers, 10(4), 197–211. doi:10.1007/BF01202366