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Integrating flaw-response modelling tools used for inspection qualification into a Multi-Agent System software platform

Mckenna, James P. and Gachagan, A. and McArthur, S.D.J. and McLean, Neil I. (2008) Integrating flaw-response modelling tools used for inspection qualification into a Multi-Agent System software platform. Insight: The Journal of the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, 50 (2). pp. 70-73. ISSN 1354-2575

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This paper details the application of a Multi-Agent software system used in the qualification of an ultrasonic NDT inspection using theoretical flaw-response modelling. Flaw- response models provide a fast and cheap alternative to test- piece trials but their use involves prior knowledge about the model's theory and application, requiring an experienced NDT engineer. Due to the disparate nature of these software models they are unable to integrate with other NDT software tools, making the selection and application of the most appropriate model for a given inspection complex. A Multi-Agent System approach creates a flexible software environment that permits the integration of software tools that display autonomous behaviour, allowing them to share data and collaborate with other tools despite their heterogeneous characteristics. A prototype Inspection Qualification Multi-Agent System has been developed that is capable of performing flaw-response model selection through the use of a rule-based software system incorporated within a Model Facilitator agent. Importantly, the design and implementation of this system utilises expert knowledge elucidated from senior NDT engineers. The performance of the Model Facilitator will be analysed through case studies, illustrating the benefits of this approach with regard to computational speed and accuracy over conventional techniques used in the ultrasonic qualification process.