Automated design knowledge capture and representation in single-user CAD environments

Raymond C.W. Sung, J.M. Ritchie, Heather Rea, Jonathan Corney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current computer-aided design systems excel at recording the final design solution for an engineering problem; however, they are not as adept at capturing the individual designer's rationale, knowledge or the process used during the design session. Being able to access this information will give insight into the reasons why key design decisions were made which, in turn, will support engineers who have to make revisions to the product in the future. Therefore, it would be beneficial if CAD systems were able to record design knowledge automatically. The research in this paper attempts to address this issue with a system that unobtrusively captures design processes and design knowledge by logging individual designer behaviour and system interactions while a CAD system is being used; user trials generated around 700 log files that were then analysed to extract these. In addition, various CAD system-independent representations were output to give a visual and formal representation of the processes that occurred. Overall, although carried out within a constrained design environment, this early knowledge capture work demonstrates the potential for automated knowledge capture and subsequent representations within CAD environments as well as the feasibility of design information push.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Engineering Design
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • knowledge capture
  • knowledge management
  • user logging
  • computer-aided design
  • design rationale


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