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Towards Enhanced Information Support For Engineering Design Tasks (Direct Manipulation)


Majumder, Deeptendu (1994) Doctoral Thesis, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta.


This research project has tried to enhance the information usability for the engineering designer. Studies conducted as a part of this project revealed the complex nature of the designer's information usage process during design. A designer oriented information model called IDIOM (Integrated Design Information Space Object Model) and a direct manipulation paradigm based on the design information evolution and usage patterns have been developed and integrated. The simple, domain independent data model addresses issues that are relevant to the process of design. These are issues such as user extensibility of the data schemas, requirement flow management, design rationale/justification management, design evolution, and functional design. Also addressed is the need for an ability to handle arbitrary and unstructured information that are generated during design conceptualization phases. The interaction component provides the ability to manipulate the design information space at three levels. These are the work space level, the system hierarchy level, and the individual object level. The IDIOM meta-schema and the interaction mechanisms support the design process by allowing the design and the associated information evolve over time. An Information Support Framework prototype, based on these two components, has been implemented using Objectworks Smalltalk. This implemented prototype has been used to apply and validate the proposed ideas against scenarios from a design project undertaken at Georgia Tech.

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