You are browsing the archive for 2012 January.

Industrial Implementation of Semantic Technologies

January 20, 2012 in Home Slideshow

This research aims towards the industrial implementation of emerging semantic technologies. A current collaborative project with Raytheon has given the team an opportunity to work with a large batch of memorandum documents which needed to be electronically organized. By taking various information from each memorandum, such as author, subject,  and date, the documents could be organized in a custom ontology. Each piece of information was stored as a property of the memorandum and the ontology was formed.

The team decided to import the ontology into Semantic Mediawiki so that the end user could browse the ontology in a familiar environment. Each memorandum has its own page where relevant information is located. Currently, the wiki is being customized to fit Raytheon’s needs.


Jeffrey McPherson and Jay Breindel

Innovation Assistant Software and Semantic Network Visualization

January 20, 2012 in Home Slideshow

This research offers a systematic approach for enhancing design innovation in an e-Design framework through a rich collaboration between cognitive psychology, engineering, and human-computer interaction (HCI). It is expected to transform innovation from an ad hoc process of stumbling upon the key obscure feature needed for innovation to a more methodical search through the space of obscure features, as detailed by an emerging cognitive theory of innovation called the Obscure Features Hypothesis (OFH: McCaffrey, 2011). The OFH states that almost all innovative solutions are built upon an infrequently-noticed or new (i.e., obscure) features of the problem under consideration. Representing the problem’s features in a semantic network and then searching for the obscure ones presents the problem of efficiently presenting and navigating through an intricate semantic network. In order to address this issue, we will develop a software framework (a test-bed) to understand the principle tradeoffs in semantic network visualization; and through a series of user studies we will explore the impact of visual knowledge representation in the design process. This work further extends the synergistic partnership between University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass Amherst) and Virginia Tech through the I/UCRC Center for e-Design.

Decision Making Method for Sustainable Product Design

January 20, 2012 in Home Slideshow

Decision Making Method for Sustainable Product Design

About the method

This innovative method addresses the most important current issues in design for sustainability.  Here, a normative method for multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) is used.  The normative principles provide a thorough understanding of the consequences of design decisions and allow for measurement of the consistency of the preferences assigned to each decision criteria.  These criteria consist of not only all significant environmental impacts but also costs incurred during a product life cycle.  Since both cost and environmental impacts have significant sources of uncertainty, these uncertainties are accounted for and considered in the analysis within this method.

This method will be represented within the e-Design framework, which is a library suite of modular ontologies that enhances distributed design engineering capabilities.  The resulting information models within the Semantic Web compatible platform will support interoperability with other Semantic Web compatible software tools.  As a result, the design intent and documented concepts that inform the sustainable design decisions will engage engineers in the entire design process with a better understanding of the reasons and justifications for decisions.


About the researcher

Douglas Eddy is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UMass-Amherst.



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0332508 and by industry members of the NSF Center for e-Design.

A Programming Language Approach to CAD Interoperability

January 20, 2012 in Home Slideshow

About the Software
This software package demonstrates the fundamental basis of the programming language approach to CAD interoperability. This is a proof-of-concept tool that can only convert 2D sections containing lines and points in one direction: from Pro/Engineer to SolidWorks. These lines and points can be defined with the dimensions and constraints listed below. No 3D part files can be converted because the features have not been covered in our research. Please feel free to download the package and then follow the Installation and User Guide for configuration instructions. The the Theory and Methods section explains all of the theory behind the programming language approach. It is necessary to have Pro/Engineer and SolidWorks both installed on your computer in order for the package to work correctly. There is a link to an example part below the Software Download. This part will convert successfully, so you can test if the configuration is working properly.

Acceptable Constraints in Pro/Engineer:
- Same point
- Horizontal
- Vertical
- Point on entity

Acceptable Dimensions in Pro/Engineer:
- Line dimension
- Line to point dimension

Software Download

About the Authors

John Altidor is a Ph.D. candidate in the Computer Science department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Jeffrey McPherson is an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The work for this project was funded by the National Science Foundations under award number 1135547 and is part of the I/UCRC REU: Collarborative Research: Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for e-Design: IT Enabled Design and Realization of Engineered Products and Systems.