CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design supported by the sibling associations ACADIA, CAADRIA, eCAADe, SIGraDi, ASCAAD and CAAD futures
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Issue-Based Information Systems are used as a means of widening the coverage of a problem. By encouraging a greater degree of participation, particularly in the earlier phases of the process, the designer is increasing the opportunity that difficulties of his proposed solution, unseen by him, will be discovered by others. Since the problem observed by a designer can always be treated as merely a symptom of another higher-level problem, the argumentative approach also increases the likelyhood that someone will attempt to attack the problem from this point of view. Another desirable characteristic of the Issue-Based Information System is that it helps to make the design process 'transparent'. Transparency here refers tO the ability of observers as well as participants to trace back the process of decision-making.
This paper offers a description of a computer-supported IBIS (written in 'C' using the 'XWindows' user interface), including a discussion of the usefulness of IBIS in design, as well as comments on the role of the computer in IBIS implementation, and related developments in computing.
The basic idea is that of top-down design - beginning with a very abstract representation, and elaborating that, in step-by-step fashion, into a complete and detailed representation. The basic operations are real-time parametric variation of designs (using the mouse and slide bar) and substitution of objects. Essentially, then, a knowledge-base in Topdown implements a kind of parametric shape grammar.
The main applications of Topdown are in introductory teaching of CAD, and (since it provides a very quick and easy way for a user to develop detailed geometric models) to provide a uniform front-end for a variety of different applications. The shell, and some example knowledge-bases, are publicly available.
This paper discusses the principles of the Topdown Shell, the implementation of knowledge bases within it, and a variety of practical design applications.
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