Adriana Santarosa Vivacqua, Ana Cristina Bicharra Garcia
In this paper we discuss the use of multiagent systems to assist the design task of engineering artifacts. We augmented the active design document approach to assist the design activity when done by a group. Task division, information flow and conflict management are the main issues when working in a group. This paper reports initial results on applying our multiagent active design document system (MultiADD) to support conflict mitigation in group design. The discussion focuses mainly on questions related to information flow: what, when and to whom to inform something while in a conflict situation. We present our model and an example taken from our implemented system which uses this technology to support process plant design of offshore oil platforms. The system has been used by the Brazilian Oil Company. In addition to speeding up the process due to the design support tool, meetings and scheduling times have been greatly reduced. Consistency among the design pieces and an increase in alternative checking have also been noticed. Most importantly, we expect that the environment will encourage cooperation among design participants.