Exploring Semantic Web technologies for ontology-based modeling in collaborative engineering design
This paper describes a preliminary attempt at using the Semantic Web paradigm, particularly the Web Ontology Language (OWL), for domain-specific engineering design knowledge representation in a multi-agent distributed design environment. Ontology-based modeling to the engineering design knowledge on the Semantic Web is proposed as a prelude to the meaningful agent communication and knowledge reuse for collaborative work among multidisciplinary organizations. Formal knowledge representation in OWL format extends traditional product modeling with capabilities of knowledge sharing and distributed problem solving, and is used as a content language within the FIPA-ACL (Agent Communication Language) messages in the proposed multi-agent system architecture. As an illustration, engineering design knowledge of automatic assembly systems for manufacturing electronic connectors, which contain a group of electro-mechanical components, is represented in OWL format, with its inherent structure-function-process relationships defined explicitly and formally, to facilitate semantic access and retrieval of electro-mechanical component information across different disciplines. The proposed approach is viewed as a promising knowledge-management method that facilitates the implementation of computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) in design of Semantic Web applications.
KeywordsCollaborative design Knowledge representation Ontology Semantic Web Web ontology language (OWL)
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