FORS: A graph based design environment

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This paper describes a design environment (FORS) which is based on a network representation of the design effort. Each design network consists of (a) tools which are programs distributed over the whole network, and (b) aspects which are the models to which the tools are applied. The system provides an icon based interface that is self-explanatory, allows for the dynamic reconfiguration of the design network, maintains libraries of records, tools and aspects, and attempts to develop mechanisms for collaboration between the different tools. The addition and the deletion of tools are relatively easy and the user has the ability to access information and data from old design efforts. FORS is a new approach to the design environments equally based on tools and data. It embodies some old ideas, like object-oriented representation of the tools, but simultaneously extends these and creates a modular and flexible environment. The system also addresses the problem of remote effects and some solutions are proposed. FORS is being used in the mechanical design of a car's window regulator, while implementation in the area of power systems is in progress. The final goal is further implementation of FORS in the VLSI design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-315
Number of pages13
JournalComputers in Industry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1990


  • Concurrent design
  • Distributed problem solving
  • Flexible organizations
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Simultaneous engineering

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