, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 737-750

An agent-based approach to knowledge management in distributed design

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The collaboration process among individuals with heterogeneous skills in a distributed virtual environment represents a crucial element of the extended enterprise. In order to achieve global optima in design, there is an increasing need for design teams to establish and maintain cooperative work through effective communication, co-location, coordination and collaboration at the knowledge level. Because of the distributed nature of users and information resources involved in the design process, the need for appropriate knowledge management tools is imperative. This paper proposes an agent-based architecture to support multi-disciplinary design teams that cooperate in a distributed design environment (DDE). Using ontologies and multi-agent systems (MAS), the proposed framework aims to optimise design process operation and management by supporting the dialogue among distributed design actors.