The objective of this project is to develop an integrated set of design tools, linked by a central information base, to support all phases of the design of distributed control systems, including:
- functional design
- rapid prototyping
- distribution design, to map the required functions onto a linked set of control units to meet the constraints of performance, cost, availability, operation under partial failure, etc
- hardware configuration
- software production by reuse of existing software components and code generation
This design support system aims to improve the quality of design by:
- forcing a structure approach to design
- encouraging the reuse of proven designs
- carrying out automatically many of the routine configuration tasks that are liable to human error.
Linking the tools via a central knowledge-base will greatly reduce the loss of information which otherwise occurs between the stages of a design and between similar designs. Artificial intelligence techniques will be used where appropriate to enable the system to adapt to the rapidly evolving capability of a given range of control equipment, differences between equipment from different suppliers, and different control applications.