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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 74
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping and B. Kumar
Paper 7

Implementation of a Web-Based Collaborative Decision-Making System using Fuzzy Logic

H.M. Yang, C.J. Anumba and P.M. Carrillo

Center for Innovative Construction Engineering (CICE), Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, England

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
H.M. Yang, C.J. Anumba, P.M. Carrillo, "Implementation of a Web-Based Collaborative Decision-Making System using Fuzzy Logic", in B.H.V. Topping, B. Kumar, (Editors), "Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on the Application of Artificial Intelligence to Civil and Structural Engineering", Civil-Comp Press, Stirlingshire, UK, Paper 7, 2001. doi:10.4203/ccp.74.7
Keywords: collaborative decision-making, fuzzy logic, membership function, concurrent engineering, linguistic variables, client-server.

With the adoption and implementation of Concurrent Engineering (CE) in the construction industry, more effective IT tools are needed particularly those facilitating collaboration at a virtual environment. This paper addresses one of the important areas of collaboration within virtual construction project teams - collaborative decision- making - and, presents an enabling system for it. The Web-based prototype system this paper presents is designed to cope with the difficulty that geographically distributed project team members have in collaborative decision-making.

The system makes it possible for a decision-making team to hold a virtual meeting via a client-server system. The system also encourages objectivity and eliminates unhealthy and antisocial behavior in group decision-making through integration of all team members' views and weighting each decision-maker's importance for a specific decision-making issue. Another improvement the system has made compared to the conventional decision making systems using quantitative analysis is its ability to handle fuzziness during the process of collaborative decision-making. Apart from the calculation of the membership function for the rankings in linguistic terms, the system employs Fuzzy Structural Modeling (FSM) method for rationalizing criteria. In the system's operation, project team members identify decision criteria for a specific issue, weight each team member's importance, and rank decision options on a number of criteria using fuzzy linguistic expressions. The system undertakes an analysis of these individual or discipline entries and recommends the optimal decision alternative.

The system is coded using Java and HTML (Visual J++ and Symantec Visual Café PDE). It consists of two major parts - Java applications and applet-embedded Web forms. The applications are created for the person who organizes the decision-making process, such as a project manager. It is assumed that the applications user has got a server (such as Ftp) installed in his/her PC.

The server is able to retrieve the information that the Web-form users submit and carry out computation based on the integration of the information. Also, the server will convey the computation result to the following Web-form. To large extent, whether an application completes its job effectively depends on the input given via the Web-form in front of it. A hypothetical decision-making scenario is used to demonstrate the implementation and operation process of the prototype system.

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