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authors McCall, R. and Johnson, E.
year 1997
title Using argumentative agents to catalyze and support collaboration in design
source Automation in Construction 6 (4) (1997) pp. 299-309
summary Since the 1970s, we have created hypertext systems supporting Rittel's argumentative approach to design. Our efforts aim at improving design by encouraging argumentative, i.e., reasoned-discourse during projects. Despite the intrinsically group-oriented character of the argumentative approach, all of our past prototypes were single-user systems. The project reported here is the first in which we aim at supporting argumentation in group projects. To do this, we augmented our PHIDIAS hyperCAD system to show how argumentative agents can initiate and sustain productive collaboration in design. These agents catalyze collaboration among designers working at different times and/or places by (1) detecting overlaps in the concerns of different participants in a design process, including conflict and support relationships, (2) notifying these people of these overlapping concerns, and (3) enabling a synchronous communication among these people to deal collaboratively with the overlaps. We call these agents argumentative because they represent different personal and professional viewpoints in design and because they promote argumentative discourse among designers about various issues. In addition to identifying and dealing with crucial problems of coordination and collaboration, argumentative agents enable the capture of important design rationale in the form of communication among project participants about these crucial problems.
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