Due to current trends in the design field towards virtual teams that collaborate over computer networks to achieve global optima in design, there is an increasing need for design teams to share knowledge and to establish and maintain a cooperative work through effective communication, coordination and collaboration at the knowledge level. As problems become more complex, teamwork is becoming increasingly important. This paper proposes a web-based multi-agent architecture to support multidisciplinary design teams that collaborate in a distributed design environment. Using ontologies and multi-agent system, the proposed framework addresses communication problem at knowledge level and aims to optimize constraints and conflicts management in concurrent engineering environment. A prototype, based on the Function-Behavior-Structure design framework, was built up to validate this approach.
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