2001 Volume 44 Issue 4 Pages 623-630
With development of CAD/CAE technology and computer hardware, more design engineers are using the CAE software. However, the CAE software is not an easy tool to use because of its versatility and amount of expertise required to understand and evaluate simulation results. An autonomous interface agent that supports Finite Element analysis was proposed and implemented in CAE software. The agent’s four major functions include giving overview of analysis procedure, planning capability, error support and proactive help that considers user’s situation and past experiences. The system was usability-tested by two groups of student testers of two different majors. Results showed agent support was indispensable for novice users. It also showed that first two functions were effective, that great care must be paid in concluding that a user is lost before activating the fourth function and that the way an error case instance is presented to the user should be refined.