Agent-based approach for the construction of a design support system for conceptual chemical process synthesis

  • Han, Chonghun (Dept. of Chemical Eng., Automation Research Center, Pohang Univ. of Science and Technology) ;
  • Stephanopoulos, George (Dept. of Chemical Eng., Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Published : 1995.10.01


A successful, computer-aided design support system can help a process designer focus on making effective design decisions, not merely tedious routine calculations. Such a system is essential to enhance quality of design in terms of economics, environmental benignity, reliability, robustness, and operability. Such a statement is even more accepted when applied to conceptual design problems, where gross design specifications are given while a combinatorial number of design alternatives exists. This paper presents an agent-based approach as a systematic and efficient way to design a design support system for the synthesis of conceptual chemical processes. An agent-based approach allows us to handle design knowledge as an object and thus greatly improve the modularity and reusability of that knowledge. Such modularity and reusability lead to the increased productivity in the development of a design support system and the increased ease in the relaxation of design decisions and the generation of design alternatives, both of which functions are critically important in dealing with the complexity and uncertainty of conceptual design problems.