The project concerns computerized product modeling. It is primarily aimed at architectural and engineering design of buildings, but results are expected to prove of wider applicability to design of artefacts in general. The mathematically rigourous, yet intuitive, "SOFA" data model, and an associated notation for object and knowledge representation, are under development. The central idea of the data model is Specification of Objects conceived as Functions of Attributes (hence the name) which allows an object to be structured a set of attribute-value pairs with distinct attributes. The conceptual apparatus involved is significantly simpler than that of the object-oriented paradigm; for example, no distinction among types, classes, and their extensions is needed. The notation is a subset of standard set-theoretical notation augmented with constraints in declarative logical form. It allows definition of types of objects, involving knowledge representation by specifying constraints on the value components of the pairs. The SOFA data model allows "type restriction" and "type expansion" (roughly corresponding to inheritance) as well as nesting of objects, thereby accommodating two methods of abstraction usually considered of importance to design: abstraction by generalization-specialization, and by aggregation-decomposition, respectively. A properly structured set of SOFA type definitions amounts to a formal definition of the set of legal states of a semantically rich design database. In 1996, work on a basic conceptual foundation for the project gave rise to the spin-off project entitled "Conceptual Engineering". A research monograph / report is in preparation.
|Effective start/end date||01/01/1994 → …|
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