services, and fault-tolerant hardware and software are among the technologies needed for dependable manufacturing systems.

Manufacturing provides an application arena for a wide variety of research relating to increased system security and trustworthiness, including access control and authentication. The need to determine and verify the user of a computer system or network is becoming increasingly important as a way of preserving system and data integrity, ensuring that sensitive data and systems are accessed only by those who are authorized, and ensuring the highest levels of system availability. These concerns affect both intra-enterprise and inter-enterprise communications.15 The manufacturing environment, especially the factory environment, calls for economical and robust technology to address these needs.

Collaboration Technology/Computer-Supported Cooperative Work

The trend toward organizing workers of all kinds into teams with significant levels of decision-making authority gives rise to a need for technology to support collaborative activity.16 For example, intelligent systems are needed to support collaborative efforts in the design of complex products; they can also facilitate collaboration among factory and other, nonproduction, personnel. Research needs include information technology to support empowered work teams of various kinds of personnel and tools for total quality management.

Research relating to technical tools for computer-supported cooperative work (including software, user interfaces, and supporting hardware) should be complemented by research examining relevant aspects of human behavior, education and training requirements, and so on, to ensure both that optimal tools are developed and that they can be used easily.

NOTES

1.  

See Wysk, Richard. 1992. “Integration Requirements for Intelligent Manufacturing,” presented at Information Technology and Manufacturing: A Workshop, National Science Foundation, May 5–6. It identified as an obstacle to implementing computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) the difficulty of integrating information system components (i.e., hardware and software) with information (both internal and external) into a smoothly running system. Components are supplied by a number of different vendors, and they are not built with the “integration hooks” necessary to communicate with products from other vendors.

2.  

Note that users and producers benefit differently from standards. Once standards are in place, conforming products will emerge around the world, much as personal computers and some kinds of networks have; standards, per se, are not sources of competitive advantage.

3.  

The PDES efforts are not standards making in the conventional sense, because they involve significant levels of development activity as opposed to simple harmonization of approaches.

4.  

Of course, there are many computationally intensive applications in manufacturing, such as the running of supercomputers for several hours to conduct a simulated crash test for an automobile.

5.  

See Tenenbaum, Jay M., and Rick Dove. 1992. “Agile Software for Intelligent Manufacturing,” presented at Information Technology and Manufacturing: A Workshop, National Science Foundation, May 5–6. It recommends research to achieve this vision.

6.  

Briefing for the committee by John Birchak of Intel Corporation, July 15, 1993.

7.  

See Tenenbaum, Jay M., and Rick Dove. 1992. “Agile Software for Intelligent Manufacturing,” presented at Information Technology and Manufacturing: A Workshop, National Science Foundation, May 5–6. It recommends research to support architectures for autonomous agents.



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