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Equipe de recherche EIFFEL

Rapports d'activité

Overall objectives

cognitive ergonomicscognitive psychologycognitive processescollective designindividual designcooperationreuseknowledge management and capitalizationviewpointsdesign methodologydesign toolscooperative systemsargumentationdistant mediated cooperation

The Eiffel team is a joint research group comprising members from INRIA (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control) and CNAM (National Conservatory of Industrial Arts and Crafts). The objectives of the team are to model cognitive and cooperative processes involved in design activities and to assess and specify tools and methodologies that support design.

Generally, studies on reasoning in design have been carried out on individual problem-solving activities. More recent studies have shifted their focus in response to the increasing need to assist collective work in an industrial context. Major concerns in industrial modernization include: the creation of new organizations that support collective work, greater interaction between designers and manufacturers and capitalization and reuse of design knowledge.

Therefore, the methodology used in conducting design projects is thus becoming a key issue. However, models of individual and collective design activities are not taken into account in current methodologies, causing problems that are measurable in terms of cost, efficiency and productivity. Taking cognitive models of individual and collective reasoning into consideration appears therefore to be essential in order to specify and assess the methodologies and more generally the systems that support design. The contribution of Cognitive Sciences, in particular Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics, is becoming crucial for handling and improving the design process.

Our research topics are organized into three main axes.

Axis 1: Functional and cooperative activities in design

A current research topic concerns the identification and development of new functionalities to assist a) functional activities involved in all design tasks and b) cooperative activities involved in collective design. The objectives of this research goals are to define distributed work environments that integrate design tools (e.g. CAD) and communication tools that make use of the Internet and other means of communicating from remote locations. Our research activities focus on: modelling and assisting individual design; analyzing software reuse and service-based design; identifying viewpoints in design; analyzing cooperative design in Open-Source Software (OSS) from a socio-cognitive viewpoint; analyzing web-based cooperative systems for product innovation in the automotive industry and annotation supports and tools in product design.

Axis 2: Reflective aspects in design: knowledge management and capitalization

An additional research objective is to identify and develop new methods and tools for knowledge capitalization and particularly knowledge relating to design. This leads us back in part to the issue of assisting reflective activities - meta-functional activities in which the operator or group of operators reflect on the work itself. This issue is given a constructive perspective (assisting the individual or the group to accumulate knowledge), as well as an integrated approach (integrating the accumulation of knowledge into their main activity, in our case design). Our research activities focus on: meta-cognition in collaborative learning; the role of local adaptations in the evolution of rules in cancerological therapeutic decision making; and mutual learning between users and designers.

Axis 3: Methodological aspects

Research on this axis involves the development of two methodological aspects: analysis methodologies for researchers and user-centered methodologies for the design and assessment of new systems. Our research activities focus on: developing analysis methods of collaborative design; developing methods for the design of new emerging technologies; and developping methos for the analysis of error production.

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