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De Grassi M, Giretti A, Caneparo L, Mecca S

Teaching construction in the virtual university: the WINDS project

Abstract: "This paper introduces some of the Information Technology solutions adopted in Web based INtelligent Design Support (WINDS) to support education in A/E/C design. The WINDS project WINDS is an EC-funded project in the 5th Framework, Information Society Technologies programme, Flexible University key action. WINDS is divided into two actions: ·The research technology action is going to implement a learning environment integrating an intelligent tutoring system, a computer instruction management system and a set of co-operative supporting tools. ·The development action is going to build a large knowledge base supporting Architecture and Civil Engineering Design Courses and to experiment a comprehensive Virtual School of Architecture and Engineering Design. During the third year of the project, more than 400 students all over Europe will attend the Virtual School. During the next three years the WINDS project will span a total effort of about 150 man-years from 28 partners of 10 European countries. The missions of the WINDS project are: Advanced Methodologies in Design Education. WINDS drives a breakdown with conventional models in design education, i.e. classroom or distance education. WINDS implements a problem oriented knowledge transfer methodology following Roger Schank’s Goal Based Scenario (GBS) pedagogical methodology. GBS encourages the learning of both skills and cases, and fosters creative problem solving. Multidisciplinary Design Education. Design requires creative synthesis and open-end problem definition at the intersection of several disciplines. WINDS experiments a valuable integration of multidisciplinary design knowledge and expertise to produce a high level standard of education. Innovative Representation, Delivery and Access to Construction Education. WINDS delivers individual education customisation by allowing the learner access through the Internet to a wide range of on-line courses and structured learning objects by means of personally tailored learning strategies. WINDS promotes the 3W paradigm: learn What you need, Where you want, When you require. Construction Practice. Construction industry is a repository of ""best practices"" and knowledge that the WINDS will profit. WINDS system benefits the ISO10303 and IFC standards to acquire knowledge of the construction process directly in digital format. On the other hand, WINDS reengineers the knowledge in up-to-date courses, educational services, which the industries can use to provide just-in-time rather than in-advance learning. WINDS IT Solutions The missions of the WINDS project state many challenging requirements both in knowledge and system architecture. Many of the solutions adopted in these fields are innovative; others are evolution of existing technologies. This paper focuses on the integration of this set of state-of-the-art technologies in an advanced and functionally sound Computer Aided Instruction system for A/E/C Design. In particular the paper deals with the following aspects: Standard Learning Technology Architecture The WINDS system relies on the in progress IEEE 1484.1 Learning Technology Standard Architecture. According to this standard the system consists of two data stores, the Knowledge Library and the Record Database, and four process: System Coach, Delivery, Evaluation and the Learner. WINDS implements the Knowledge Library into a three-tier architecture: 1.Learning Objects: ·Learning Units are collections of text and multimedia data. ·Models are represented in either IFC or STEP formats. ·Cases are sets of Learning Units and Models. Cases are noteworthy stories, which describes solutions, integrate technical detail, contain relevant design failures etc. 2.Indexes refer to the process in which the identification of relevant topics in design cases and learning units takes place. Indexing process creates structures of Learning Objects for course management, profile planning procedures and reasoning processes. 3.Courses are taxonomies of either Learning Units or a design task and Course Units. Knowledge Representation WINDS demonstrates that it is possible and valuable to integrate a widespread design expertise so that it can be effectively used to produce a high level standard of education. To this aim WINDS gathers area knowledge, design skills and expertise under the umbrellas of common knowledge representation structures and unambiguous semantics. Cases are one of the most valuable means for the representation of design expertise. A Case is a set of Learning Units and Product Models. Cases are noteworthy stories, which describe solutions, integrate technical details, contain relevant design failures, etc. Knowledge Integration Indexes are a medium among different kind of knowledge: they implement networks for navigation and access to disparate documents: HTML, video, images, CAD and product models (STEP or IFC). Concept indexes link learning topics to learning objects and group them into competencies. Index relationships are the base of the WINDS reasoning processes, and provide the foundation for system coaching functions, which proactively suggest strategies, solutions, examples and avoids students’ design deadlock. Knowledge Distribution To support the data stores and the process among the partners in 10 countries efficiently, WINDS implements an object oriented client/server as COM objects. Behind the DCOM components there is the Dynamic Kernel, which dynamically embodies and maintains data stores and process. Components of the Knowledge Library can reside on several servers across the Internet. This provides for distributed transactions, e.g. a change in one Learning Object affects the Knowledge Library spread across several servers in different countries. Learning objects implemented as COM objects can wrap ownership data. Clear and univocal definition of ownerships rights enables Universities, in collaboration with telecommunication and publisher companies, to act as “education brokers”. Brokerage in education and training is an innovative paradigm to provide just-in-time and personally customised value added learning knowledge."

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Full text: content.pdf (417,738 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.education (0.088602) class.deployment (0.042591) class.bestPractise (0.035370)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by Icelandic Building Research Institute. The assistance of the editor, Mr. Gudni Gudnason, is gratefully appreciated


Dickinson S J, Bradshow A

Validation and certification of civil engineering structural design sofware

Abstract: The strive for efficiency and increased productivity within the building construction industry has highlighted the need for assurance of the validity of structural design software. Currently, building structures are designed using unvalidated computer software which means that, for reasons of possible litigation, design checks must be carried out by hand calculation. The need for checking and rechecking at all stages of design and subsequent design authorisation by town planning departments means that the process is generally long winded and expensive. This paper outlines a proposed scheme for the validation, certification and subsequent monitoring and recertification of such software through a specially set up software validation agency.

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Full text: content.pdf ( bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: ecce:1997 (browse)
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Dieckmann A, Russell P, Stachelhaus T

'Healer, heal thyself!': information management in an architecture faculty

Abstract: The architect’s profession has always been that of an organizer; a coordinator. In an increasingly specialized society such as ours there is an even greater demand for professionals with a wide range of management abilities. Today’s architect will have to organize and coordinate the flow, the means and the systematic storage of information in a project. For an institution that ‘produces’ architects, it is, in the opinion of the authors, vital to not only teach modern / contemporary methods of organizing information but also to practice them. If architecture students are to comprehend the necessity of organizing skills & tools, they will have to encounter these from day one of their student life. In 2002, the Faculty of Architecture of Aachen University (RWTH) reached a decision to provide all members of the faculty, teachers and students alike, with a central service for the management of information. That service, called RWTH Information Technology Assistant (RiTA) is to be a set of web-based tools for organizing and managing the curriculum and all matters connected to that. The objective of RiTA is to increase efficiency and transparency in the administration of the faculty.

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Full text: content.pdf (650,463 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2003 (browse)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the University of Auckland. The assistance of the editor who provided the full texts and the structured metadata, Dr. Robert Amor, is gratefully appreciated.


Drogemuller R

Modelling static and dynamic knowledge during design

Abstract: The IS0 STEP standards for product data modelling and exchange are based on the use of Express. Express has acknowledged limitations. Modifications have been suggested to extend Express (Express-E) into a more object-oriented language and to add rules as a means of encoding knowledge. The EDM group have presented solutions to many of these limitations for the modelling of buildings. This paper discusses BDeCS (Building Design and Construction System), an interactive system that supports building design and construction. BDeCS uses ideas from Express, EDM and the various knowledge representation formalisms developed in AI research. The initial development of BDeCS concentrated on the representation of knowledge within the system. The user interface was then developed around methods of interacting with the howledge in as "natural" a way as possible. Limitations of both knowledge representation formalisms from the AI field and traditional software development have been identified. The needs for extensibility and sharing of information among all of the members of the building design and construction team have lead to a software architecture that is unique. Methods of organising teams of people to work concurrently on the one project, while maintaining consistency of the data have also been developed.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,246,710 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1995 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.man-software (0.070743) class.software development (0.024602) class.represent (0.021522)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the Stanford University, USA. The support of the editors, particularly Prof. Fischer is gratefully appreciated.


Durmisevic S, Ciftcioglu O, Sariyildiz S

Knowledge modelling of 'soft' data in architectural design

Abstract: IT Context: Information technologies are at present used in various disciplines to address issues such as information processing, data mining, knowledge-modelling etc. Its final goal is to provide necessary aid to professionals during decision-making process. This raises already few questions such as, what type of data is considered and are there some new emerging technologies that can improve knowledge modelling and therefore provide better decision support to the professionals. Design professionals are very often confronted with soft data that they somehow need to interpret and finally integrate in a design. Situations dealing with the numerical data may occur quite naturally in exact sciences like engineering sciences, life sciences etc. However, the quantities subject to consideration in soft sciences are often qualitative rather than quantitative so that we relate to that type of data as 'soft' data. As an example, in such cases, the quantities may be linguistic so that such quantities have to be somehow expressed in numerical form for treatment by conclusive numerical analysis methods. Objectives: The architectural design task is one example having linguistic qualities as priory design information. This is especially the case when qualities of certain space are discussed, like for example in post occupancy evaluation of the buildings, where the relationship between spatial characteristics and psychological aspects plays an important role. Expressions such as: bright colour, light room, large space are some of these examples and therefore a special method is needed for representation and processing of such vague expressions and concepts. Better understanding of these concepts is necessary so that the knowledge can be modelled in a proper way. Methodology: The analyses are performed by means of soft computing methods. The data subject to analysis and later to knowledge modelling belongs to an underground station that is already being used. For this purpose, the data on psychological aspects are obtained via comprehensive inquiry of the users of underground station. For the analysis, the linguistic information is firstly converted to terms in fuzzy logic domain and after appropriate treatment, the data analyses are carried out and the results are expressed in most comprehensible form for design assessments. Such conversions are referred to as fuzzification and defuzzification, where the data are expressed in numerical form and therefore become convenient for mathematical treatment. Conclusions: Referring to the complexity of task in dealing with the soft data as well as dealing with soft computing, the paper first identifies the source of these complexities referring to the architectural design tasks. Following this, a soft computing analysis method based on one case study will be presented, whereby the focus will be on knowledge modelling. Finally, the results of the analyses together with the conclusions regarding the observed effectiveness of the approach are presented.

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Full text: content.pdf (242,586 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.retrieve (0.036108) class.impact (0.013187) class.analysis (0.007731)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by CSIR Building and Construction Technology. The assistance of the editors, Mr. Gustav Coetzee and Mr. Frances Boshoff, is gratefully appreciated.


Ekholm A

A conceptual framework for classification of construction works

Abstract: Classification is a means to facilitate communication among actors in a field of practice. In the construction sector classification plays a major role in specifications, structuring of documents, calculation of costs, etc. The need for general classification systems grows with the increased internationalisation of the construction market and the rapid development towards a computer integrated construction process based on computer aided product data modelling. These processes require standardised ways of describing construction artefacts, and classification is a means to achieve this. Classification within the construction sector is based on pragmatic tradition and national needs, but internationally applicable classification tables must be founded on a neutral conceptual framework. The ISO Technical Report 14177 "Classification of information in the construction industry" aims at providing such a framework. This study analyses some basic concepts within the ISO Technical Report, among others facility, space, element, and work section, and suggests further developments. Fundamental semantic and ontological theories are applied to define some basic concepts within classification and to build a conceptual framework for construction works. A general conclusion of the study is that the proposed framework is useful as a foundation for identifying classes for construction works. Among the more specific conclusions are that: 1) a separate classification of socio-technical user systems may be a useful background for classifying infrastructure units, construction works, and spaces according to the activities they support; 2) a classification of construction work parts as "shape objects" is needed in the earliest stages of the computer-aided design process; and 3) a definition of space that includes its boundaries is proposed.

Keywords: classification, construction, facility, element, work section, space, CAD

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Full text: http://www.itcon.org/1996/2 (available to registered users only)

Series: itcon:1996 (browse)
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Ekström M A, Björnsson H C

A rating system for AEC e-bidding that accounts for rater credibility

Abstract: We believe that a rating system can substantially improve the effectiveness of an AEC ecommercemarket since it can provide a means for market participants to share information about performance.One critical issue in the design of rating system is how to weight the ratings depending on who isthe rater. Source credibility theory from the area of communication science offers a solution to thisproblem since it provides a means for user's to explicitly rate the reliability of a given rater. We alsoclaim that it is important what type information that is available for assessing the raters' credibility.In this paper we propose an algorithm to calculate ratings of AEC subcontractors based on theuser's different types of information about the credibility of the raters. Finally, we describe anexperiment in progress to investigate the use of source credibility as a basis for a functioning AECrating system.

Keywords: Rating system, e-commerce, bidding, construction industry, source credibility, trust, pairwise

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Full text: content.pdf (209,289 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: ecce:2001 (browse)
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Engdahl S

Product identification systems for construction and facility management

Abstract: This paper presents a study of the concept of a common construction product identification system with a focus on the establishment of principles for its use within computer integrated construction and facility management processes. An analysis of current systems for product identification utilized within the Swedish sector of construction and facility management is presented in an addition with a discussion of the concept of object and class identification in information systems development. The study is a part of the industry doctorate research project ‘Product information in computer-integrated construction and facility management processes’, which aims at studying methods for handling product information and contribute to the development of computer based systems for product information management. A main hypothesis within this project is that an information platform enabling efficient integration of IT in handling construction product information is composed of an identification-, classification-, and an attribute system. These components should be mutually independent and implemented as sector wide standards. This study specifically deals with the first component, a common system for identification of construction products. During recent years an increasing amount of research has been dedicated to define methods to integrate and utilize information technology in handling the vast amount of information used, created and transferred within construction and facility management processes. In Sweden, the focus has been on classification systems and product models as central means for establishing a framework for information handling. A common system for product identification would in general facilitate handling of product information in computer integrated construction and facility management processes. Specific advantages would be to enable; - Dynamic invocation of distributed components (e.g. CORBA) representing the product via a link relation residing in a database connected to the Internet. - Direct product information retrieval in case of a present identifier on a product, catalogue page or advertisement. - Exactness in production follow-up, i.e. when consumed production resources are registered. A common system for product identification is considered to be relatively easy to define and implement in comparison with common standards for product classification, attributes and product models, since the latter ones are aspect dependent and involve numerous actors and divergent interests. The purpose of this study is to identify and analyze current systems for product identification used within the Swedish sector of construction and to demonstrate the role of such systems in IT based environments for handling construction product information. The study shows that separate actors within the building process so far have developed systems for product identification without support for the process as a whole. Among the systems analyzed is EAN-13 regarded as most suitable since it is international, non-sector specific, in correspondence with a barcode standard for automatic data capture and has the widest propagation. However, the EAN-13 system, like the other systems, lacks explicit norms that guarantee valid identification in a historical perspective especially required for product information management within facility management processes. EAN-13’s main disadvantage in the construction context is its total focus on trade items, thus its deficient handling of standard product units, which is the common view for actors outside the sector of trading. The conclusion implies that a common system for product identification with characteristics of being international, non-sector specific, without property or class referencing attributes and with explicit criteria regarding changes of identifiers as a result of property alteration would be most advantageous and that such system is a central component in an information platform with means for achieving efficient utilization of IT. None of the systems in current use is featured with all these characteristics.

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Full text: content.pdf (527,797 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.retrieve (0.020441) class.software-software (0.015031) class.bestPractise (0.012129)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by CSIR Building and Construction Technology. The assistance of the editors, Mr. Gustav Coetzee and Mr. Frances Boshoff, is gratefully appreciated.


Fischer M A, Luiten G T B, Aalami F

Representing project information and construction method knowledge for computer- aided construction management

Abstract: Currently available construction management software has serious limitations that hinder further integration and automation of construction management tasks. The main limitation is the low level at which project information and knowledge is represented. This means that integration of design and construction planning information and automated reasoning about, for example, planning, are difficult to implement. In two research projects at the Center for Integrated Facility Engineering at Stanford University, we are addressing these limitations. In the SPACECAKE project we propose a higher level representation of project information that explicitly represents the relations between products, activities, construction methods and resources. A prototype system shows that it is possible to implement our conceptual model and support project management decisions. In the MOCA project we elaborate further on the representation of construction method knowledge. In this paper we propose a template to make the knowledge explicit and computer-interpretable.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,466,181 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1995 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.synthesis (0.016915) class.bestPractise (0.009748) class.software development (0.008872)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the Stanford University, USA. The support of the editors, particularly Prof. Fischer is gratefully appreciated.


Fischinger M, Turk Z, Cerovsek T

EASY: A Hypermedia learning tool

Abstract: The Web not only distributes classically organized teaching material such as overheads, lecture notes and books, but also encourages new ways of publication and provides the means for content which could not have been printed on paper. In the article we present a tool for teaching earthquake engineering - an Earthquake Engineering Slide Information System (EASY). It uses information technology to present expert knowledge that has been accumulated over the decades by observing structures, damaged by earthquakes. Based on slides taken after major earthquakes such as Northridge, Mexico City and Kobe, a pictorial database of some 500 most descriptive images has been created and carefully annotated with keywords and textual description. By browsing the database and by following hypertext links, the user learns basic pitfalls of earthquake engineering and gains the feeling for the behavior of structures. The system is available both on the Web and on CD-ROM. We describe the system, as well as the design and development process and tools.

Keywords: earthquake engineering, education, multimedia

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Full text: http://www.itcon.org/1998/1 (available to registered users only)

Series: itcon:1998 (browse)
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