Support of Collaborative Structural Design Processes through the Integration of Peer-to-Peer and Multiagent Architectures
Structural engineering projects are increasingly organized in networked cooperations due to a permanently enlarged competition pressure and a high degree of complexity while performing the concurrent design activities. Software that intends to support such collaborative structural design processes implicates enormous requirements. In the course of our common research work, we analyzed the pros and cons of the application of both the peer-to-peer (University of Bonn) and multiagent architecture style (University of Bochum) within the field of collaborative structural design. In this paper, we join the benefits of both architecture styles in an integrated conceptual approach. We demonstrate the surplus value of the integrated multiagent–peer-to-peer approach by means of an example scenario in which several structural engineers are co-operatively designing the basic structural elements of an arched bridge, applying heterogeneous CAD systems.