Computer-Based Modelling and Management for Current Working Knowledge Evolution Support
Author: Zhang, Yan
Supervisor: Duffy, Alex H.B.
Institution: CAD Centre Department of Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management University of Strathclyde Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Design knowledge refers to the knowledge of a design that concerns the nature of the design. It can be considered to consist of current working knowledge (CWK), i.e. the knowledge of the design on which the designer is currently working, and domain knowledge (DK), i.e. the knowledge of past designs in a domain. This thesis presents an approach to CWK evolution support from the perspective of design knowledge modelling and management. The phenomena of CWK evolution during the design process is explored based on the characteristics of the design process and the relations between the design process and design knowledge, which are disclosed from reviewing a number of design process models. This, together with the problems and difficulties in the process of CWK evolution lead to the identification of the requirements for CWK evolution support. Further, existing relevant design knowledge modelling and management approaches have been critically reviewed against these requirements. It is clarified that existing approaches do not adequately support CWK evolution concerning design knowledge modelling and management. A novel approach to CWK evolution support, Multi-Viewpoint Evolutionary Approach (M-VEA), has been established. The overall idea of M-VEA is to support the designer to represent and structure his/her own design knowledge, both CWK and DK, from a set of views and utilise the modelled design knowledge to support CWK evolution. M-VEA consists of three main parts: a modelling formalism, a management mechanism and a utilisation schema. The formalism provides a basis on which design knowledge can be represented and structured in such a way as to facilitate its utilisation and reflect its generation during the design process. In the formalism, CWK and DK have been formalised in two models: a multi-viewpoint evolutionary current working knowledge model and a multi-viewpoint domain knowledge model. The main elements of design knowledge, basic structures that model design knowledge from individual views, and design knowledge that is the integration of basic structures are formalised. The management mechanism manages design knowledge models under evolution. The key idea of the management mechanism is to support an interactive, dynamic and non-monotonic process of building up designers’ design knowledge models using the main elements provided by M-VEA. The utilisation schema supports the use of designers’ design knowledge modelled and managed through M-VEA to evolve CWK. A prototype system, DeNote, has been developed to evaluate the realisation of M-VEA in CWK evolution support. The functionality of DeNote has been illustrated by applying it in an industrial design case, telescope design. Further, the strengths and weaknesses of M-VEA have been discussed and, finally future work to enhance the capability of M-VEA and the functionality of DeNote in CWK evolution support has been identified.