The project is aimed at developing (1) a productive collaboration framework that will enable integration, collaboration, and real-time control of spatially distributed small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), (2) decision making models and tools driven by shop floor level operations, and (3) a distributed simulation virtual environment that mimics interaction among SMEs and acts as a testbed for experimentation and validation of the proposed system architecture and mathematical models. The project will extend auction paradigms into a distributed (versus local) manufacturing resource environment. A primary outcome will be an architecture of cooperative agents, a set of which would represent an SME with a desire to collaborate with other SMEs for mutual gain within a manufacturing context. New research components include the development of an information flow model of a shop floor and new decision-making models and tools.
If successful, the results of this research will provide insights for building productive collaboration environments for SMEs. The distributed information flow model that will be developed in this project will provide scalability and reconfigurability.