Application of a support system to the design of wastewater treatment plants

This paper presents a case study that explores the advantages that can be derived from the use of a design support system during the design of wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). With this objective in mind a simplified but plausible WWTP design case study has been generated with KBDS, a computer-based support system that maintains a historical record of the design process. The study shows how, by employing such a historical record, it is possible to: (1) rank different design proposals responding to a design problem; (2) study the influence of changing the weight of the arguments used in the selection of the most adequate proposal; (3) take advantage of keywords to assist the designer in the search of specific items within the historical records; (4) evaluate automatically the compliance of alternative design proposals with respect to the design objectives; (5) verify the validity of previous decisions after the modification of the current constraints or specifications; (6) re-use the design records when upgrading an existing WWTP or when designing similar facilities; (7) generate documentation of the decision making process; and (8) associate a variety of documents as annotations to any component in the design history. The paper also shows one possible future role of design support systems as they outgrow their current reactive role as repositories of historical information and start to proactively support the generation of new knowledge during the design process ​
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