An `AI in Design' View of Design
System Architecture


Does the system consist of a single problem-solving unit or is it a distributed system?

Discussion. Early knowledge-based design systems were built using the typical structure of an expert system. The entire knowledge was concentrated in a single knowledge base and various techniques used it for specific purposes [McDermott 1982]. While the architecture is relatively simple to set up, the search process is significantly slowed down by the amount of knowledge that has to be scanned each time a task or a subtask has to be solved. More recent systems take the approach of dividing the knowledge into specialized subsystems [Brown & Chandrasekaran 1989] [Gupta et al. 1993]. These subsystems carry out well-defined tasks such as proposing solutions, evaluation, or learning. They each have limited knowledge, but communicate and cooperate with each other during the design process. A further extension of this idea is to allow both logical and physical distribution of the subsystems into multi-agent design systems [Grecu & Brown 1996] [Lander 1997] [Lander & Lesser 1992] [Werkman 1992].

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