Collaborative Engineering in a Multi-Tool Environment
Conventional wisdom suggests that better engineering tools lead to better engineered systems (e.g., cyber physical systems). Yet, despite an impressive and growing computer-supported tool landscape, engineering remains complex and hard to control. The problem is that most existing tools cater to the needs of individual engineers and not the needs of collaborating engineering teams. These tools divide rather than unite because 1) engineers download and manipulate tool documents (files) separately and 2) they focus on separate kinds of artifacts, tasks, and engineering disciplines. Consequently, engineers find it hard to maintain a consistent, overall view of the engineering process. Herein lies the dilemma: the existing tool landscape misses is how knowledge flows among engineers and the tools they use. Without this knowledge, engineers cannot effectively visualize the bigger picture, propagate changes among tools, and detect errors. This is known as the tool interoperability problem and it is the most critical software and systems engineering problem today. CEME bridges the gap between single-user tools and collaborative engineering environments. CEME provides engineers with flexible cross-tool sharing, transformation, linking (traceability), and guidance (e.g. inconsistency detection) to enable multi-user collaboration on an unprecedented scaleThis project will develop a sound foundation for collaborative engineering based on tool knowledge, provide a proof-of-concept implementation, and validate it on industrial challenge problems.