A methodology description language (MDL) has been designed for the rapid integration of CAE programs in order to automate complex engineering methodologies. Based on this language, an integration environment has been developed, which includes a representation scheme for methodology process flow and data flow, and a control scheme for methodology process scheduling, monitoring, and potentially, diagnosis. The blackboard technique has been adopted in the implementation of the control scheme. This approach has now been tested in several projects to prototype engineering methodologies involving multiple CAE analysis programs. It is anticipated that full implementation and deployment of this approach inside Ford Motor Company will enable the rapid prototyping of complex engineering methodologies for exploration, as well as optimization, of product designs and vehicle control strategies. Widespread use of these results within the Ford product development process will be a key enabler to improving product quality through including more up-front CAE analysis of vehicle components and systems while still achieving Fast Cycle Time goals.

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