A hybrid type approach to plant layout design is presented using a constraint-directed search procedure and a mathematical optimization technique. In layout design, a plant must be arranged to satisfy spatial constraints imposed by its components. In our approach the whole space of a plant building is divided into the finite compartments with a modular size in order to separate the description of the layout into the combinatorial part and the sizing part. The approach consists of two steps. In the first step, a constraint-directed search procedure is applied to find a combinatorial solution among plant components so as to satisfy the spatial layout conditions. In the second step, an optimization technique is applied to determine the actual dimensions of components so as to minimize a measure of an overall size of a plant building considering size of components. The approach is implemented with an object-oriented programming environment and the system can automatically produce a layout from the declarative representation of layout conditions. Finally, the approach has been applied to the design of a nuclear power plant in order to check its validity and effectiveness.

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