Exploring Semantic Web technologies for ontology-based modeling in collaborative engineering design

  • W. Y. Zhang
  • J. W. Yin


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.


Collaborative design Knowledge representation Ontology Semantic Web Web ontology language (OWL) 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Berners-Lee T, Hendler J, Lassila O (2001) The Semantic Web. Sci Am 284:34–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    McGuinness DL, Harmelen FV (2004) OWL Web ontology language overview., March 20
  3. 3.
    Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents (2002) FIPA specifications.
  4. 4.
    Bellifemine F, Poggi A, Rimassa G (2001) Developing multi-agent systems with a FIPA-compliant agent framework. Soft Prac Exper 31:103–128zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zhang WY, Tor SB, Britton GA (2005) A graph and matrix representation scheme for functional design of mechanical products. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 25:221–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Krishnamurthy K, Law KH (1997) A data management model for collaborative design in a CAD environment. Eng Comput 13:65–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Roy U, Kodkani SS (1999) Product modeling within the framework of the World Wide Web. IIE Trans 31:667–677Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bidarra R, den Berg EV, Brongsvoort WF (2002) A collaborative feature modeling system. J Comput Inform Sci Eng 2:192–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bohm MR, Stone RB, Szykman S (2003) Enhancing virtual product representations for advanced design repository systems. In: Proceedings of the ASME Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, DETC2003/CIE-48239, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Felfernig A, Friedrich G, Jannach D, Stumptner M, Zanker M (2003) Configuration knowledge representations for Semantic Web applications. Artif Intell Eng Des Anal Manuf 17:31–50Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Aziz H, Gao J, Maropoulos P, Cheung WM (2005) Open standard, open source and peer-to-peer tools and methods for collaborative product development. Comput Ind 56:260–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zhang WY, Lin LF, Qiu J, Tong RF, Dong JX (2006) An ontology-based functional modeling approach for multi-agent distributed design on the Semantic Web. Lect Notes Comput Sci 3865:334–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Fikes R, Hayes P, Horrocks I (2003) OWL-QL - a language for deductive query answering on the Semantic Web, knowledge systems laboratory. Stanford University, Stanford, CAGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Haarslev V, Moller R (2003) Racer: a core inference engine for the Semantic Web. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Evaluation of Ontology-Based Tools, pp 27–36Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gennari JH, Musen MA, Fergerson RW, Grosso WE, Crubezy M, Eriksson H, Noy NF, Tu SW (2003) The evolution of Protégé-2000: an environment for knowledge-based systems development. Int J Human-Comput Stud 58:89–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Knublauch H, Musen MA, Rector AL (2004) Editing description logics ontologies with the Protégé OWL plug-in. In: International Workshop on Description Logics, Whistler, BC, Canada, 2004Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rriedman-Hill EJ (2002) JESS, the expert system shell for the Java platform.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of InformationZhejiang University of Finance and EconomicsHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Institute of Artificial IntelligenceZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations