Next: Contents

SNEAKERS: A Concurrent Engineering Demonstration System (postscript version)

Robert E. Douglas, Jr.

Fri Feb 25 17:55:54 EST 1994
A Thesis
Submitted to the Faculty
of the
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
Degree of
Master of Science
Computer Science

To my parents, Robert &Kathleen Douglas, I gratefully dedicate this thesis. Thank you for always supporting me. I think it was worth it.


I would like to thank, DEC and the Competitive Product Development Institute for their support of this work. I would also like to thank Professor Brown for all his help. It was absolutely invaluable. I would like to thank Professor Zenger for jumping in head first to help guide me, and for all those brain storming sessions we had together.

Thanks to Professor Selkow for reading this mess, and for being so kind about it. Special thanks to Jeff Choate for his help with and matrices, and all sorts of other neat stuff. And thanks to Aaron Laznovsky, Duane Morin, and Stuart Wells, who took time out of their busy schedules to find bugs and offer suggestions for my work.

More thanks go to my evaluation team of Sundar Victor, Pete McCann, Eric Rasmussen, Jingwen Liu, and Kathy Urbanowicz. Thanks also go out to the WPI AI in Design Group and AI Research Group, and Professors Nabil Hachem, Mike Gennert, and Lee Becker, who provided inspiration.

Above all, many thanks to all my friends who have made the decision to stay in school the best decision I have ever made. They are, in no particular order, Doreen Burrell, Dawn Varacchi, Jim Moore, Ryan Smart, Kevin Dahm, Aaron Laznovsky, Jeff Choate, Stuart Wells, Kristi Henricksen, Scott Runstrom, Trish Gagnon, Duane Morin, Jenn Greenhalgh, Dominic Giampaolo, Brenda Yagmin, T. J. Mino, Eric Felton, Bill Katzman, Chad Council, Andrew Hansford, Brian Weissman, Craig Johnson, Pete Chestna, Taryn Schweitzer, Lydia MacHatton, Jon Stott, Mike ``Gundy'' Gunderman, Jonathan ``Sparky'' Davis, and Kristin Sullivan.

Concurrent Engineering (CE) has already initiated a cultural change in the design and manufacturing of new products. It is expected to lead to better engineered and faster built products. But, in order for a company to take advantage of the power of CE, the members of product development teams have to be educated in the CE method of product development and how decisions made about one aspect of a design can affect other aspects. They also have to be educated in the usefulness of the tools that can be used for CE. Those tools include intelligent agents which can be used to offer design suggestions and criticisms.

The goal of this project is to build a computer system which will simulate a design environment and demonstrate the essential aspects of CE, in a way that they can be intuitively understood. It is supported by a grant from the Competitive Product Development Institute at the Digital Equipment Corporation.


Next: Contents