Adaptive reuse of archived parametric finite element analysis (FEA) models to model similar, new problems is an important part of the process of learning to apply the finite element method to specific domains. Retrieval of relevant archived models and supporting documents from electronic repositories is difficult when a modeler is unable to describe information needs precisely in a query using keywords. The use of description logic concepts to describe archived models and build expandable classification hierarchies to facilitate retrieval is proposed and illustrated. A domain-independent retrieval algorithm based on the traversal of description logic concept hierarchies is introduced. Its usefulness is asserted by: • showing that intent behind FEA models can be represented precisely using a fairly inexpressive description logic; • showing that standard description logic inference supports retrieval of FEA models based on a modelers’ intent.

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