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Dossick, Carrie Sturts; Rojas, Eddy; Locsin, Susan; and Lee, Namhun

Defining Construction Management Events in Situational Simulations

Abstract: The challenge and promise of educational computer simulations are to provide user experiences that allow for immersion into a dynamic system in which users discover the ramifications of their decisions in a complex environment. Researchers at the University of Washington, in collaboration with Michigan Technological University, are developing situational simulations to meet the needs of construction management education. The simulation environment, known as the Virtual Coach, helps users to further develop their decision-making skills in a problem-based learning setting whereby they investigate, integrate and apply concepts in a participatory, contextually rich, educational, yet fun video game-like virtual environment. This paper explores the development of this contextually rich and general-purpose environment and the user’s experience as they progress from Project Awareness to Project Monitoring and into Project Management. In the Virtual Coach, users view project information in both Project Awareness and Project Monitoring. As the project and Simulation Events unfold, the user interacts with the simulation, making decisions that impact the project outcome. A Simulation Event includes the user’s experience, variables altered by the event, and variables changed by the user. This paper defines the concept of Simulation Events within the context of the Virtual Coach, explains how the users become aware of an Event and how Events are triggered in the simulation, describes how users engage with the simulation (i.e., what variables are in play), and identifies types and formats of information available to a simulation developer to shape the learning outcomes.

Keywords: Simulation models; Construction management; Engineering education; Computer aided instruction

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Series: convr:2007 (browse)
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Naaranoja M, Oestman L

Information technology strategies and adaptation of knowledge - a conceptual analysis in the construction industry

Abstract: The goal of this study is to construct an understanding of preparations, made for strategic decisions of information technology. The focus is on adaptation of knowledge and the types of knowledge adapted. The study concentrates on the software and hardware used for producing drawings and specifications in the construction industry - the companies suffer an unpredictable market environment and a large amount of published data. The study is based on two case studies - made in two different companies – a multinational with operations in different countries, the other a medium size, mainly active on the regional market. Both of the companies are forced to make development decisions about information technology by estimating future benefits, costs, risks and intangible values. This should evolve from a thorough reflection based on selected information and an assessment of the situational data. According to their attitude towards CAD development these companies belong to different classes: pioneer and follower. The pioneer makes a broad scope selection of information and organises it for decision making. The follower estimates both the benefits of the software and the actions of the competitors. He calculates the revenues and costs carefully before the decision. There is a large amount of information offered by software developers, scientist and other experts. On the other hand the knowledge needed for strategic decisions has to be inside the company. According to the pragmatist philosophy, knowledge is gained through elaboration of experiences. In a fast developing field - such as software development and communication tools - the possibility of gaining experiences is good. The problem is - due to continuous progress - that new experiences are the only that can help you construct adequate knowledge. Sustainable decisions need to be based on long term experience, but in the case of information technology, the emphasis must

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Full text: content.pdf (50,324 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1998 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.strategies (0.026554) class.synthesis (0.015250) class.software development (0.012514)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. The assistance of the editors, Prof. Bo-Christer Björk and Dr. Adina Jägbeck, is gratefully appreciated.


Pe?a-Mora F, Craig M

AVSAR: a collaboration system for disaster search and rescue operations using autonomous vehicles

Abstract: The disaster relief community is increasingly focused on issues of critical physical infrastructure in search and rescue operations. As the disaster relief and civil engineering community attempts to expand its abilities in this arena, it is being confronted with constraints related to manpower, risks to human personnel, and system stability. The community can address these barriers by integrating autonomous vehicles and intelligent software agents into its traditionally human elements. The military has been actively pursuing this goal in order to minimize human casualties and expand its functionality, and a technology transfer to the disaster arena would be greatly beneficial. The transition from the military to the disaster relief community is a logical step because of the great number of similarities between the two areas. Both are concerned with operations carried out in hostile, chaotic environments, where many participants from different areas of expertise collaborate to reach an objective, and both are constrained by the quality of intercommunication and the effectiveness of their equipment. Experience gained by the military in the field of autonomous vehicles has shown that while the ratio of autonomous vehicles to humans remains low, there is little trouble in directly controlling these vehicles as personnel can be dedicated to this task alone. However, as the number of autonomous vehicles increases to include personal human assistants and entire teams of vehicles, the task of control and collaboration becomes increasingly difficult. To date, most autonomous vehicle control work has been done with a one-to-one structure where one human controls one vehicle. While this works well when the vehicles are relatively simple and the number of vehicles is small, it does not translate well into the ideal situation of large populations of complex autonomous vehicles. Under these circumstances, intelligent software agents, residing both on the autonomous vehicles and on the communication devices, are needed to handle the task of distributed decision-making. This autonomous decision making ability is particularly critical for the cases where the autonomous vehicles fall out of contact with their human commanders or remote experts such as geotechnical, structural, and earthquake engineers. This paper examines past work done for and by the military in the area of autonomous vehicle systems and examines its application to the field of disaster relief involving critical physical infrastructures. It then presents a system that meets the needs of a combined human - intelligent software agent - autonomous vehicle SR (Search and Rescue) team, operating on critical physical infrastructure in an unstable and hostile environment. The collaboration infrastructure includes an information policy layer and a client application layer that address the need for inter-user communication and flexible command structures, which can be dynamically arranged to meet the situational need.

Keywords: collaborative environments, disaster relief, search and rescue, autonomous vehicles, intelligent software agents, self-organization, control structures, information policy

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Series: itaec:2004 (browse)
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