Integrating multiple information representations in a single CAD/CAM/CAE environment

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The number of Computer-Aided Design, Computer-Aided Manufacturing, and Computer-Aided Engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE) programs and their capabilities has risen greatly in recent times. The programming efforts continue to be significant as each application developer strives to integrate more functionality. This paper describes a study on module integration in CAD/ CAM/CAE software that considers how software can be structured to enable and ease the integration. This paper deals specifically with the issue of which object-oriented data structure is best for integration to minimize code execution times, memory usage, and programming effort. That is, we are interested in identifying the ideal base class for information objects. The study compares scene-graph and Information Model representations, compares two object referencing approaches (by path and direct object references), four modes of information interpretation, and three integration schemes. The study concludes that the ideal system combines scene-graph and Information Model approaches into one new flexible approach in which the information object base class contains a generically traversable array holding schema and user attributes. In general, objects should be referenced by a path from the hierarchy root object. Object information should be interpreted into an application context by a third object or interface. New information objects from a secondary representation should be embedded into the information hierarchy of the primary representation when they do not need to reference other objects, otherwise multiple inheritance or Component Object Modeling should be used to combine the corresponding objects from multiple representations into a single new object. © Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006.

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Engineering with Computers