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authors Kalay, Y.E.
year 1998
title P3: Computational environment to support design collaboration
source Automation in Construction 8 (1) (1998) pp. 37-48
summary The work reported in this paper addresses the paradoxical state of the construction industry (also known as A/E/C, for Architecture, Engineering and Construction), where the design of highly integrated facilities is undertaken by severely fragmented teams, leading to diminished performance of both processes and products. The construction industry has been trying to overcome this problem by partitioning the design process hierarchically or temporally. While these methods are procedurally efficient, their piecemeal nature diminishes the overall performance of the project. Computational methods intended to facilitate collaboration in the construction industry have, so far, focused primarily on improving the flow of information among the participants. They have largely met their stated objective of improved communication, but have done little to improve joint decision-making, and therefore have not significantly improved the quality of the design project itself. We suggest that the main impediment to effective collaboration and joint decision-making in the A/E/C industry is the divergence of disciplinary `world-views', which are the product of educational and professional processes through which the individuals participating in the design process have been socialized into their respective disciplines. To maximize the performance of the overall project, these different world-views must be reconciled, possibly at the expense of individual goals. Such reconciliation can only be accomplished if the participants find the attainment of the overall goals of the project more compelling than their individual disciplinary goals. This will happen when the participants have become cognizant and appreciative of world-views other than their own, including the objectives and concerns of other participants. To achieve this state of knowledge, we propose to avail to the participants of the design team highly specific, contextualized information, reflecting each participant's valuation of the proposed design actions. P3 is a semantically-rich computational environment, which is intended to fulfill this mission. It consists of: (1) a shared representation of the evolving design project, connected (through the World Wide Web) to (2) individual experts and their discipline-specific knowledge repositories; and (3) a computational project manager makes the individual valuations visible to all the participants, and helps them deliberate and negotiate their respective positions for the purpose of improving the overall performance of the project. The paper discusses the theories on which the three components are founded, their function, and the principles of their implementation.
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