ESDS: Materials Technology Knowledge Bases Supporting Design of Boeing Jetliners

Mark A. Dahl, The Boeing Company

This paper describes a large rule-based application called Engineering Standards Distribution System (ESDS). ESDS was built and deployed by Boeing and helps design engineers specify materials, manufacturing processes, and parts for commercial jetliners. Its 50 knowledge bases accumulatively cover most jetliner part types and are derived from many knowledge sources. ESDS knowledge acquisition methods are designed to maximize participation of domain experts and employ a domain-specific declarative representation language. Since the initial deployment of ESDS in 1989, ongoing maintenance requirements have led to development of new tools and methods. ESDS represents a unique and effective application of knowledge-based technology to the problem of distributing corporate knowledge assets. It also minimizes the need for subsequent transcription and re-interpretation of its results by providing an unambiguous model of material and processing requirements which feed down-stream computing systems.

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