AN EXPERT SYSTEM APPROACH TO CONTAINER SHIP LAYOUT DESIGN

· Sebnem Helvacioglu and Mustafa Insel ˘ , Faculty of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey Int. Shipbuild. Progr., 50, no. 1 & 2 (2003) pp. 19-34 Received: February 2002 Accepted: January 2003

Ship design applications are carried out mainly by human experts who generally utilise computerised deterministic analysis techniques. Application of stochastic methods, and formalisation of heuristic methods in computer aided ship design have not been widely utilised yet. This work investigates whether such a heuristic method, namely expert system approach, can be satisfactorily applied into ship design. An expert system program package called ALDES (Accommodation Layout Design Expert System) was developed by using CLIPS expert system shell in order to asses the current approach. Preliminary dimensions of a container ship were calculated by a heuristic approach supported by a database of similar ships, empirical formulation, and deterministic analysis techniques. The hull was subdivided into main compartments by locating decks, double bottom, and transverse bulkheads. The number of crew was calculated by utilising manning regulations, then the superstructure layout was developed by assigning spaces for access, passageways, public and private rooms. Two cases were selected to test the current approach: firstly the effects of design heuristics were analysed in an evacuation analysis, and secondly a preliminary concept design for a fast containership was conducted. In conclusion, this study presents a case study approach in which an expert system is applied into ship design domain successfully with layout design emphasis.

1. Introduction Expert systems (ESs) have found a wide application area in engineering applications along with the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) since 1980s [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Ship design is a complex engineering process due to requirement of large expertise and its iterative nature. It also requires a wide dynamic knowledge base as both national and international rules and regulations are updated every year. Because

economic. regulatory. In the design of integrated systems. has been developed to investigate this approach. If the individual parts are not fully independent. 2. hence integration task is very demanding. These parts can then be analysed individually and combined to give an overall solution. 7]. it may be accepted as a suitable application domain for ESs. At first. researchers have been developing models based on AI techniques and domain knowledge as well as the procedural analysis approaches. The interest in the facility layout and location problems in the current work is oriented towards exploration of the techniques and methods that can be adopted for layout design of ship accommodation. Facility layout problem refers to design process of a layout for production or service facilities. 3. its limitations were soon realized. an object oriented visual programming environment. But lately.20 An expert system approach to container ship layout design of these interrelated characteristics of ship design. and computer assisted techniques were consequently developed and utilized as universal tools [1. The general capability of any ES is . ethic and physical constraints [7]. Background The result of a design process is a specification of a proposed object to fulfil a predefined set of requirements within a set of environmental. Evan’s design spiral was the first structured methodology in ship design [8]. ALDES has been established using CLIPS expert system shell. and application of ESs to ship design is examined through a case study approach. In the current work. Some steps of Systematic Layout Planning (SLP) [10] technique have been utilised to develop an accommodation block layout for the current work. and a general purposed CAD tool. However. an overall analysis is usually not possible and the solution is divided into a number of manageable parts [2]. an ES program. technical. Knowledge base The knowledge base is a part of the expert system. which contains the knowledge and expertise associated with a particular domain. integration stage is performed in an iterative method. called ALDES (Accommodation Layout Design Expert System). Ship design involves a wide range of tasks. 3. computer technology was used for simple applications facilitating tedious manual tasks in the ship design. The goal is to represent knowledge in such a way that it is comprehensible to both human and the computer [9]. social. Design of an engineering artefact is usually carried out by an analysis-synthesis-evaluation cycle. Knowledge based design is a model of design process in computer environment in an attempt to capture and render operable human knowledge about the domain.

have been represented as properties.· Sebnem Helvacioglu and Mustafa Insel ˘ . two different types of knowledge representation methods have been employed those being an object oriented hierarchical database. as well as extracting knowledge from reference books and technical regulations for container ship design such as SOLAS [11]. Production rules have been adopted due to the nature of ship design knowledge in the expert system. a designer will know when to calculate weights in order to check weight-displacement balance. This knowledge about order of tasks is probably the main difference between a designer and spiral based iterative design. This type of knowledge can be referred to as “meta-knowledge” and can only be extracted through interviews. which the expert system uses to solve a problem. knowledge. e. For example. which can be inherited through class definitions. Designer’s way of process must also involve a conflict resolution. have been represented as methods. Interviews have lead into compilation of heuristics. 21 determined by the quality of the associated knowledge base [2]. A number of issues about knowledge have been evaluated during the development of the current system.g. and calculations performed on each object. interviewing of several domain experts. Characteristics about an entity such as dimensions. The heuristic knowledge acquired through interviews has been represented as rules. good practices. and judgemental reasoning within container ship design domain. volume. while facts have been utilized to represent dynamic memory. In the current work. while powering calculations may require a decrease in the beam. weight. accepted standards. Knowledge elicitation The main problems associated with the development of ES applications are nearly all concerned with the process of obtaining the information required to construct the application of a specific knowledge base. Meta Knowledge Knowledge about design consists of not only rules about how to do tasks but also on when to perform the tasks. the stability calculations may indicate an increase in the beam. A production system has the form: . In the current work. Knowledge Representation The basis of knowledge representation in a computer is the organisation and storage of knowledge. which may be a space or physical object belonging to a class derived from a class tree. This process of extracting knowledge from either human or non-human sources is often called knowledge elicitation. which was utilized for ship components and production rules. Object oriented database enables the program to locate each entity. which were used to define the expert system. ILO [12] and national regulations [13] has been utilised to develop a knowledge base. and is of fundamental importance in the development of ES applications. etc.

Production rules are used to perform reasoning managed by interference engine of expert system. ES.e. Typically only some aspects of the problem are considered and one or more approximate solutions to the problem are created using this restricted version. an ES for container ship layout design has been developed to investigate expert system approach in ship design. being a complex problem. A concept model of these tasks is illustrated in Figure 1. Reasoning Reasoning is the process of creating new facts from existing facts. where the roles of ship design process. which make up ship volume. and knowledge base are shown inclusive of the reasoning logic. then the conclusion may be added to the working memory. In this study CLIPS inference engine has been used with depth first search algorithm. Two main tasks in the container ship layout design have been selected instead of overall design: “compartmentation” i. If the condition is true according to the working memory. asserted and retracted facts to be seen while a program is running. while the latter task involves the layout design of one of these functional units. which may indicate a property of an object or may indicate some type of calculation is required. division of the ship into compartments. As a pilot application. The former task allocates functional/spatial units. The resulting solutions are then adjusted to create an acceptable layout and the best resulting solution is implemented. Conclusion and condition relate to the state of the global database.22 An expert system approach to container ship layout design IF [condition] THEN [conclusion] The condition part of the rule must be true. 4. the model includes the determination of number of crew required which in turn effects both “compartmentation” and the superstructure layout. is often solved by the utilisation of heuristics. . For example. to use the conclusion part. Application Ship layout design. Explanation of Reasoning This capability is provided through the compile editor of the CLIPS watch facility and allows for the Fired rules. and arrangement of the superstructure.

. 23 Figure 1. Conceptual model of ALDES.· Sebnem Helvacioglu and Mustafa Insel ˘ .

such as resistance. This paradigm enabled the expert system part to operate outside of all usual computerised operations and focus only in the expert system heuristics. System layout. Events. to output the results. to keep a database of objects in the design process. to visualise the layout. It keeps its own agenda and facts list which is modified by the interface shell whenever it is required. Figure 2. propulsion calculations. and to perform some procedural tasks. The interface shell has functions to input data from the user. usually calculations. In addition to ES utilisation a number of knowledge based design techniques were adopted in the development of ALDES: .24 An expert system approach to container ship layout design Two programming paradigms were employed in the development of ALDES: a Pascal based visual programming environment was utilised as an interface shell and CLIPS expert system shell was used as the inference engine (see Figure 2). calculation for number of containers in the hull etc. are fired at the interface shell by checking fact list of CLIPS. ES works in a DLL format communicating with user through the interface shell.

In the establishment of the database. e.· Sebnem Helvacioglu and Mustafa Insel ˘ . iii) A technique called systematic layout planning has been utilized to derive the relationships between the cabins in the layout. The number designation used in Table 1 are explained by Table 2 and Table 3. when a cabin is defined it belongs to owner deck (Parent) should have been defined. in its entirety. For example. polymorphism. As an illustration. ship consists of a hierarchical database of objects. volume. flooding. Each object. In this hierarchical object tree. width. as two bays of containers are taken on top of engine room and in front of accommodation block. Accommodation block design is updated whenever the engine room size changes. and encapsulation techniques. if the engine room size is large enough. surrounding cabins (brothers and sisters) may also be defined. At the third level a specific cabin at a selected deck may be examined. As a result each component may be designed independently but it must include the effects of other sub-components. depth. and obviously a cabin will have objects (as its children) such as a door derived from door class. each object has an owner and relations to other objects.g. weight and methods such as weight calculation. which allows for the definition and utilisation of topological relationships of ship sub-components. has properties such as length. size calculation. With these techniques it was possible to represent ownership and neighbouring relations. left. Table 1 shows an example relational chart. and from considerations of fire. Similarly. social relations and from heuristics extracted from the interviews [2]. derived from a class. In this figure accommodation part is chosen as the first level decomposition. accommodation block has an algorithm to define the size but it also takes engine room size into account. At the second level each deck of the accommodation part can separately be taken into account. Hence. ii) Ship has been divided into sub-components in a varying level of detail. i) 25 Object oriented programming paradigm was utilised for the representation of ship and its components in the interface shell. which was derived from human flow diagrams for daily functions. Decomposition has a general disadvantage as it causes to loose the interactions between sub-components. below. above. This hierarchical decomposition may be explained by choosing accommodation part as shown in Figure 3. . object oriented programming paradigm was utilised with inheritance. procedure of moving etc. emergency operations. This relational chart was utilised in the layout design process as production rules. This has been overcomed by building ES heuristic rules for the design of each component to include the interactions.

26 An expert system approach to container ship layout design Figure 3. . Decomposition.

27 Table 1. E: Especially important. I: Important.· Sebnem Helvacioglu and Mustafa Insel ˘ . 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 2 A 3 U E 4 E E U 5 O A O E 6 U O E U U 7 A E U I I U 8 I I U I U U U 9 U O I U U I U U 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 E I U U U U U U U O O I O U E U U U U U U E O U I O O I O I I O O I I I I I I I I U O O O O O O O O O O O O E X X X X X X X X X X X O X U X X X X X X X X X X X X E I E I O O I I I I I I I I U U I X E U O O E U O O O O O O U O U U U U U U U X X X X X X X X X U O U A U U X X X X X X X X X X X U U U U U U U U X X X X X X X X X X X U U U U A U X I U X X X X X X X X X X X U X U I U X U U U U X X X U U E U U E O I I U U X U U X U U U X A E U I I U A U U U U U U U U U U U U U U U U X X X X X X X X X X X X I I U I I X U U U I U X U U U I I I U U U U U U U U I I U U U U U U U U U U U U U X A U U U U U U U U X U X U X U X U U U X X Relations: A: Absolutely necessary. No Crew Member Duty 2 Oceangoing-master 4 Oceangoing-chief-officer 8 Oceangoing-watchkeeping officer 3 Unlimited-chief-engineer 6 Unlimited-second-engineer 9 Unlimited-engineer-officer 7 Radio-officer 11 Electrician 22 Boatswain Total Number of Crew: 22 Number 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 No 22 22 22 19 25 22 22 22 Crew Member Duty Able-seaman Ordinary-seaman Deckboy Cook Steward Donkyman Oiler Wiper Number 2 3 1 1 1 1 3 1 - . Crew members and cabins related to crew according to the program. Relational chart for the sample ship. X: Undesirable Table 2. U: Unimportant. O: Ordinary importance.

the size and the number of the accommodation decks are calculated. iii) Double bottom.28 An expert system approach to container ship layout design Table 3. ship range and initial hull form of the ship. stern and accommodation space. Sub-tasks as listed below are performed a number of times in a non-orderly iterative manner: i) Ship main dimensions are determined form deck area. engine room size and fuel consumption are calculated. v) First approach to weight and weight distribution is made and updated as more data becomes available. vii) Container capacity under main deck is calculated.1. engine room. cargo holds. General heuristics are used to calculate crew size. The basic requirements to start the design are speed. ii) Ship resistance. Only first level of decomposition is utilised in this module. The other compartments in the accommodation part. and volume requirements. area and location requirements. vi) Preliminary assessment of stability is made and ballast requirement is determined. . iv) The accommodation part is determined. Task Module A: General arrangement plan Task Module A aims to generate a general arrangement plan by decomposing ship concept into hierarchical components such as bow. No 5 1 24 27 12 17 13 10 14 Name of the Section Owner Bridge Radio-room Deck-office Engine-office Officer-dining-room Officer-day-room Pilot Pantry Number 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 No 16 18 15 Name of the Section Galley Hospital Crew-mess-room Store-3 Store-2 Store-1 Laundry Cold-room Dry-provision Number 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 20 21 26 4. capacity (number of TEU). These inputs are handled by Interface shell and are fed into CLIPS as facts. Ship size is calculated by use of sub-compartments integration and by taking considerations of total volume. Structure of knowledge base ALDES consists of three integrated task modules of ship design. main deck and main transverse bulkheads are located. engine power. propeller efficiency.

is investigated and the effect of this change on the overall design and cost function is observed. depth etc. The first step of accommodation layout defines name. number of cooks. Case Study I: Effect of design strategy One of the main design concerns is to find answers to “what-if” questions. From this information. requirement definition. A cost factor is calculated for different scenarios in order to provide a ranking facility between various design strategies. and final sizes are determined. The information from this chart and space requirements for each cabin is used to decide deck levels for each cabin. and common practices A Relational Chart is incorporated to define the topology of the accommodation block. 4. This information is then utilised in the next modules to define the superstructure layout. engine power and range of the designed ship to fire the rules. etc. Owner selected crew. Area requirement of each room is calculated as required by ILO and IMO regulations. Task Module C: Accommodation layout Accommodation layout is performed in three steps: 1.2. determination of required cabin numbers and their sizes. etc.e. which is assumed to be on the third deck acting as the boat deck for evacuation. stewards. A cost function was defined as the distance for every personnel from their room to a safety point. i. and other spaces such as stores. public rooms. Task Module B: Crew number calculation 29 This module was developed to determine required crew number. 2. This approach has been adopted in a large number of design studies only in the microlevel. . effect of a variable such as beam. Two applications of program were developed: Firstly a container ship with 750 TEU was selected and two alternative layouts were developed by varying decision rules.e. arrangement of cabins. Case studies Case study approach has been adopted to assess and validate the program. When decks are fully defined the cabins in each deck are located. a search for an unusual containership carrying 1000 TEU at 30 knots speed was made. galleys. Secondly. can be entered as preferences by the user.· Sebnem Helvacioglu and Mustafa Insel ˘ . calculation of a cost function. relations and locations. i. The knowledge base of the program was prepared by extracting the knowledge from regulations [14]. electricians. Crew number module seeks gross tonnage (GRT). statue and area for both crew members’ cabins. Design strategy can easily be altered by making changes in the meta-knowledge.e. 3. i.

30 An expert system approach to container ship layout design sensitivity of the design for this parameter can be determined. The accommodation block is developed and a deck layout is given as an example in Figure 4a. Figure 4 a and b. . Typical door positions are given in Figure 4a and Figure 4b. A few sample results from the outputs are given in Table 4 for comparison purposes. These two simple case studies illustrate that with a computer system such as ALDES. In the second case the doors were located without the minimum distance rules. ship design strategy changes can be evaluated with respect to the selected cost function. the heuristics about the locations of doors for each cabin has been changed. In the first case study a containership of 750 passenger at 16 knots is developed. As a change in the design strategy. Example deck for the second case. a fundamentally different approach is adopted whereby instead of changing a design parameter the design strategy is changed. The cost function was chosen as the total evacuation distance for the whole crew. In this study. working posts and living areas. For the first case. i.e. or design can be optimised for this parameter. the cabin doors were positioned in the nearest position to the staircase or safety point. And it was calculated with respect to the crew’s normal operating/resting locations.

As an alternative. and a selection process was performed. In the current work a variation of concept exploration model was used for concept design of a fast containership carrying approximately 1000 TEU at 30 knots. This task is usually performed by the designer’s heuristics combined with the available analysis techniques. Table 4. a concept exploration model can be defined [15]. A cost criterion was defined as fuel consumption per TEU-mile. some of the variables are chosen by heuristics rules.· Sebnem Helvacioglu and Mustafa Insel ˘ . Figure 5 shows general arrangement of 1000 TEU 30 knot containership as defined in ALDES and Figure 6 shows fuel consumption per TEU-Mile and GM/Breadth ratio by change of number of tiers (Ny) and rows (Nz) . Comparison of two cases. Only the effect of number of piers and rows were left for the designer. Short distance case Person : donkeyman distance from centre to door : 4665 distance from door to point : 1073 distance from point to stair : 5423 distance from stair to deck : -4000 total distance : 15161 person : oceangoing-master distance from centre to door : 3033 distance from door to stair : 1011 distance from stair to deck : 6000 total distance : 10044 Person : steward distance from centre to door : 1550 distance from door to point : 1073 distance from point to stair : 943 distance from stair to deck : -4000 total distance : 7566 Person : owner distance from centre to door : 6308 distance from door to stair : 2926 distance from stair to deck : 6000 total distance : 15235 Person : radio-officer distance from centre to door : 2550 distance from door to stair : 626 distance from stair to deck : 4000 total distance : 7176 31 Long distance case Person : donkeyman distance from centre to door : 4422 distance from door to point : 2110 distance from point to stair : 5423 distance from stair to deck : -4000 total distance : 15956 person : oceangoing-master distance from centre to door : 3335 distance from door to stair : 1930 distance from stair to deck : 6000 total distance : 11265 person : steward distance from centre to door : 450 distance from door to point : 2110 distance from point to stair : 943 distance from stair to deck : -4000 total distance : 7503 Person : owner distance from centre to door : 4250 distance from door to stair : 4930 distance from stair to deck : 6000 total distance : 15180 Person : radio-officer distance from centre to door : 2550 distance from door to stair : 626 distance from stair to deck : 4000 total distance : 7176 Case Study II: Concept design of unusual ships Concept design of unusual ships is difficult to model with the usual design spiral. The main difficulty in concept exploration is the quantity of data and the post-processing especially if the number of variables is large. In order to reduce the amount of data produced with concept exploration.

32 An expert system approach to container ship layout design without ballast weight change. The result of the case study. . dictates increase in number of rows. General arrangement. Figure 5. and a compromise must be reached by addition of ballast as well as increasing number of rows. as GM/B Ratio. Smallest number of container rows and tiers results in least cost as expected from a long slender ship with high powered ship concept. Large number of tiers is ruled out. but stability criteria. Figure 6.

. Helvacioglu. pp. Vol. This approach allowed for the development of program modules to design each sub-component independently and yet also allowed for the utilisation of heuristics for integration. 1989. Istanbul. A Computer Aided Conceptual Ship Design System Incorporating Expert Knowledge. O. pp. H. W. 5. 2001. Demirsoylu. Such an approach also increases the efficiency of communication between the expert system and the user. Naval Engineers Journal. H. It is shown that such a system can have a great potential for utilisation in the ship layout design process. References [1] Welsh. Göke. Utilisation of expert systems in container ship design: accommodation layout design expert system (ALDES). S.. May. [2] [3] [4] .M. Aka. Istanbul Technical University. Ship Technology Research. G.. The main advantage of the expert system appears to be the ability to design a ship simply generating a general arrangement plan with the backing of rule. Dayı. . Acknowledgements The authors wish to express their thanks to domain experts.. Space Layout design Using Computer Assisted Methods. D. S. 1991. S. Use of the calculated evacuation distance as a cost function is found to be useful. Börü. A. The main advantage of this approach over the conventional design spiral is to include integration heuristics within each sub-component design module. September..G.S. 1987. PhD Thesis. 140-156. Gürsel. Watson.Y. Department of Naval Architecture. As an illustration it was applied for two cases to examine the effect of changing the design strategy with respect to cabin door locations on the cost function. M.· Sebnem Helvacioglu and Mustafa Insel ˘ . University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. similar to the way a domain expert performs his design. T.manyazıcı. A. and calculation base. development of an expert system called ALDES has been presented where the adopted system model implements logical reason methods both for generative and interpretative knowledge. Conclusion 33 In this study.. A method for computer-aided general arrangement designof ships. 249-260.is Welsh who shared their expertise on containership design through knowledge extraction interviews. S . PhD thesis. A. Odabası. Koh. knowledge. Hierarchical decomposition of ship object into sub-components has proved to be a very useful tool. and Hills. Cort. 38. Department of Marine Technology. July.

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