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Unformatted text preview: Developing an agent-based workflow management system for collaborative product design Ching-Jen Huang Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, National Chinyi Institute of Technology, Taiping, Taiwan, Republic of China Amy J.C. Trappey Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, National Tsing Hwa University, Hsinchu, Taiwan, Republic of China, and Yin-Ho Yao Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Ta Hwa Institute of Technology, Hsinchu, Taiwan, Republic of China Abstract Purpose The purpose of this research is to develop a prototype of agent-based intelligent workflow system for product design collaboration in a distributed network environment. Design/methodology/approach This research separates the collaborative workflow enactment mechanisms from the collaborative workflow building tools for flexible workflow management. Applying the XML/RDF (resource description framework) ontology schema, workflow logic is described in a standard representation. Lastly, a case study in collaborative system-on-chip (SoC) design is depicted to demonstrate the agent-based workflow system for the design collaboration on the web. Findings Agent technology can overcome the difficulty of interoperability in cross-platform, distributed environment with standard RDF data schema. Control and update of workflow functions become flexible and versatile by simply modifying agent reasoning and behaviors. Research limitations/implications When business partners want to collaborate, how to integrate agents in different workflows becomes a critical issues. Practical implications Agent technology can facilitate design cooperation and teamwork communication in a collaborative, transparent product development environment. Originality/value This research establishes generalized flow logic RDF models and an agent-based intelligent workflow management system, called AWfMS, based on the RDF schema of workflow definition. AWfMS minimizes barriers in the distributed design process and hence increases design cooperations among partners. Keywords Work flow, Intelligent agents, Product design, Product design systems Paper type Research paper 1. Introduction With the development of internet technology, competitive pressures are forcing companies to consider strategies to reduce costs and compress time between each stage of the value chain (Humphreys et al. , 2005). The concept of product design collaboration over the internet has been widely adopted to reduce time-to-market, The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/0263-5577.htm This research is partially supported by the National Science Council and ITRI research grants, which are greatly appreciated by the authors. The authors also wish to thank W-J. Tzengs technical supports in applying JADE for AWfMS implementation....
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- Spring '10