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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Year Degree Awarded

January 2007

Month Degree Awarded

September

Keywords

Ontology, Interoperability, Secured knowledge sharing, Engineering analysis models

Abstract

ABSTRACT

ONTOLOGIES AND METHODS FOR INTEROPERABILITY OF ENGINEERING ANALYSIS MODELS (EAMS) IN AN E-DESIGN ENVIRONMENT

SEPTEMBER 2007

NEELIMA KANURI, B.S., BIRLA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCES PILANI INDIA

M.S., UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST

Directed by: Professor Ian Grosse

Interoperability is the ability of two or more systems to exchange and reuse information efficiently. This thesis presents new techniques for interoperating engineering tools using ontologies as the basis for representing, visualizing, reasoning about, and securely exchanging abstract engineering knowledge between software systems. The specific engineering domain that is the primary focus of this report is the modeling knowledge associated with the development of engineering analysis models (EAMs). This abstract modeling knowledge has been used to support integration of analysis and optimization tools in iSIGHT FD , a commercial engineering environment. ANSYS , a commercial FEA tool, has been wrapped as an analysis service available inside of iSIGHT-FD. Engineering analysis modeling (EAM) ontology has been developed and instantiated to form a knowledge base for representing analysis modeling knowledge. The instances of the knowledge base are the analysis models of real world applications. To illustrate how abstract modeling knowledge can be exploited for useful purposes, a cantilever I-Beam design optimization problem has been used as a test bed proof-of-concept application. Two distinct finite element models of the I-beam are available to analyze a given beam design- a beam-element finite element model with potentially lower accuracy but significantly reduced computational costs and a high fidelity, high cost, shell-element finite element model. The goal is to obtain an optimized I-beam design at minimum computational expense. An intelligent KB tool was developed and implemented in FiPER . This tool reasons about the modeling knowledge to intelligently shift between the beam and the shell element models during an optimization process to select the best analysis model for a given optimization design state.

In addition to improved interoperability and design optimization, methods are developed and presented that demonstrate the ability to operate on ontological knowledge bases to perform important engineering tasks. One such method is the automatic technical report generation method which converts the modeling knowledge associated with an analysis model to a flat technical report. The second method is a secure knowledge sharing method which allocates permissions to portions of knowledge to control knowledge access and sharing. Both the methods acting together enable recipient specific fine grain controlled knowledge viewing and sharing in an engineering workflow integration environment, such as iSIGHT-FD.

These methods together play a very efficient role in reducing the large scale inefficiencies existing in current product design and development cycles due to poor knowledge sharing and reuse between people and software engineering tools. This work is a significant advance in both understanding and application of integration of knowledge in a distributed engineering design framework.

First Advisor

Ian R. Grosse

Second Advisor

Jack C. Wileden

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