Hierarchical Distribution of Consistency-relevant Changes in a Collaborative Engineering Environment
Engineering is a collaborative process, incorporating a multitude of heterogeneous artifacts. These artifacts share interdependent properties, which must be kept consistent during the engineering process (e.g., code must correspond to architectural design documents). To address this circumstance, existing works propose the unification of heterogeneous artifacts in a single collaborative engineering environment where artifacts are analysed for consistency on the basis of their interdependent properties. The work presented in this paper expands the collaboration possibilities of such environments by adopting hierarchically organized work areas storing artifact changes. We discuss different implications such hierarchies have on the computation of consistency information and propose a mechanism of instantly distributing consistency-relevant change information throughout the collaborative engineering environment. This way, engineers are provided with a unique perspective on their engineering artifacts, which is immediately re-evaluated whenever new changes are made within the hierarchy. To evaluate this mechanism, we provide an experiment – motivating the instant distribution of change information – as well as a scenario simulation – testing our mechanism against an exhaustive set of possible inputs.