Distributed Component-Centered Design as Agent-Based Distributed Constraint Optimization

Van Parunak, Al Ward, Mitch Fleischer, John Sauter, and Tzyy-Chuh Chang

Many manufactured systems (both consumer goods and manufacturing systems) consist of a number of discrete subsystems and components that interact with one another through various interfaces to provide the required functionality. Designing such a system requires finding values for interface variables that are compatible among the various components, and is analogous to the constraint optimization problem, with subsystems and components playing the role of constraints among the variables. Today’s business environment requires design to be done by distributed teams of engineers, so the analogy can be extended to distributed constraint optimization (DCOP). This paper develops the parallel between distributed component-centered design (DCCD) and DCOP, discusses the particular flavor that industrial requirements impart to the mapping, and reports how this parallel is being exploited in the RAPPID system for agent-based distributed design,

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