Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

David C. Brown, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Robert E. Kinicki, Department Head




"Design is a very complicated and ill-defined problem solving activity. Routine parametric design is a more restricted and well-defined version of design problems. Even this restricted version requires many different kinds of expert knowledge and the ability to perform a variety of tasks. One approach to solving this restricted version is to use Single Function Agents (SiFAs), each of which can perform a very specialized task, from a single point of view. The ability to represent expertise with different points of view is very important in design. These different points of view usually cause conflicts among agents, and these conflicts need to be resolved in order for the design process to be successful. Therefore, agents need to be capable of detecting and resolving these conflicts. This thesis presents a model of conflicts and negotiations in the SiFA framework. Some extensions to the present state of the SiFA paradigm are introduced. A hierarchy of possible conflicts is proposed and the steps of the negotiation process are discussed. The ability of agents to negotiation in order to resolve conflicts makes SiFA-based design systems more versatile, less brittle, and easier to construct and maintain. Also, the extended SiFA paradigm, where agents have negotiation capabilities leads to many interesting directions for further research. "


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Computer Science

Project Type


Date Accepted





negotiation, multi-agent design systems, conflict management, single function agents, routine parametric design, Engineering design, Data processing, Expert systems (Computer science)