Geometric-based reasoning system for project planning utilizing AI and CAD technologies

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Virginia Tech


Traditional planning and scheduling techniques have played an important role is system analysis over the last three decades. They provide construction planners with mathematical models to simulate the construction process as an aid in planning and control of complex projects. Although these techniques have been widely used by the construction industry, they possess many limitations.

Researchers and practitioners in the construction industry have followed two directions to overcome most of the limitations of current planning techniques. The first direction has been concentrated on the utilization of state-of-the-art Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D computer modeling technology. The objective of their work is to interactively generate and visually simulate the construction process on graphics display. The second direction has been influenced by the potential capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to accomplish “Automated Planning”. This group has utilized knowledge-based and expert systems to automatically generate construction plans.

The research proposed here presents a geometric-based reasoning system called KNOW-PLAN. The system integrates CAD and 3D computer modeling technology with AI technology to automatically generate and simulate construction plans. The system, therefore, can be classified as a third alternative in approaching the planning problem.

The research seeks to utilize geometric data to provide a dynamic sequencing for project planning. The research utilizes object location and object interaction with other objects as the primary source of reasoning for the project plan. The interaction of objects is based on a classification of objects with relation to connection types among them, the zones in which the objects are located, and relationships between the classes with which the objects are associated.

To accomplish the objectives of the research, an overall model called the KNOW-PLAN model has been formulated. This model is formulated to demonstrate theoretically the feasibility of implementing such a model in real-life. The implementation effort has been concentrated on the development of the crucial components of the KNOW-PLAN model using advanced computer applications. The implementation at this level is referred to as the KNOW-PLAN prototype system.