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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 13
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping
Paper IV.4

Expert Systems as an Integrating Tool in Civil Engineering Design

W.J. Spencer and P. Podlaha

School of Civil Engineering and Building, Swinburne Institute of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
W.J. Spencer, P. Podlaha, "Expert Systems as an Integrating Tool in Civil Engineering Design", in B.H.V. Topping, (Editor), "Artificial Intelligence and Structural Engineering", Civil-Comp Press, Edinburgh, UK, pp 127-131, 1991. doi:10.4203/ccp.13.4.4
Design engineers have now accepted the computer as an aid to engineering design offering a wide range of tools to assist in the design process. However the increasing sophistication and power of computer facilities has been matched by increasing complexities in the design task brought about by an expansion of knowledge. Codes of practice that were initially slim volumes of a few pages now often approach the size of modest text books and environmental and social issues are more prominent. Matching the required knowledge to the design task has become a problem since both an awareness and management of information is required. The paper addresses this problem and suggests that real advances in the design process are possible through the judicious use of expert systems coupled with a full utilisation of the power of modern computers. In addition to being seen as another option for use as a design tool in engineering, it is contended that expert systems have a particular role to play in the overall management of the design. Two aspects are considered, firstly the role of expert systems at the level of conceptual design and secondly at the level of detailed design. The concept suggested is one of providing a coordinated computing environment with the designer in overall control of the process. A model showing how expert systems can be used as an integrating tool is described in some detail.

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