Web technology is playing an increasingly important role in collaborative product development systems. However, most Web-based applications were developed using client/server architecture for information sharing. This paper presents some results of an on-going research project on developing a distributed multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) framework based on Web and agents. The primary objective is to develop an architectural framework for implementing MDO environments by integrating intelligent agents and Internet/Web based technologies. The principle is to leverage the right technology for the appropriate purpose. Agent-based negotiation is used for computing resource management or load balancing. Web-based interfaces are developed for users to access the MDO software environment and collaborate with each other. Active Web servers provide a way to integrate legacy systems separated by firewalls. The paper describes the proposed framework; presents a prototype environment for blow molded automotive parts design; and addresses some key issues in system implementation.

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