Abstract

Collaborative engineering involves multiple engineers and managers working together to develop engineering products. As engineering problems become more and more complex, such as the development of a modern automobile, new technologies are demanded to maintain both effectiveness and efficiency of collaborative engineering. While process models and technologies have been developed to support engineering team work, most of the support remains at project management level. Our research proposes a process-driven and agent-based framework, called ActivePROCESS, to support collaborative engineering. ActivePROCESS is composed of a process model APM that captures both high level and low level activity dependencies, and an agent network that monitors process execution and facilitates coordination among engineers. One important feature of this framework is that the agents can capture emergent dependencies between activities dynamically and provides guidance for coordination by managing and applying the dependencies. In this paper, we first present our process-driven approach to collaborative engineering, and then describe the process model APM and the ActivePROCESS prototype system being developed. We will also describe a case example and discuss several issues experienced from the case study.

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