Original Date: 01/23/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Interactive Collaborative Environments
Computer scientists at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a concurrent engineering tool that will allow project team members physically isolated from one another to simultaneously work on the same drawings. The technology is called Interactive Collaborative Environments (ICE), a software program and networking architecture that supports interaction of multiple X-Windows servers on the same program being executed on a client workstation.
The ICE application implemented at Sandia is a software program that makes it possible to share X-Windows application programs in a network. The application program executing in the X-Windows environment on a master computer can be simultaneously displayed, accessed, and manipulated by other interconnected computers as if the program were being run locally on each computer. The ICE program acts as both a client and a server. It is a server to the X-Windows client program that is being shared, and a client to the X-Servers that are participants in the collaboration. This client-server program intercepts and manages the data and protocol. It also resolves any differences between the X-Servers involved in the collaboration such as colors, fonts, and resource IDs. This allows the participants to transparently use their own UNIX, PC, or Macintosh X- Servers.
The X-Windows application demonstrated is a mechanical design package called ProEngineer, and is one of the cornerstones of the A-PRIMED concurrent engineering project. The ICE implementation makes this CAD package a true concurrent engineering tool. Designers, production engineers, and the other groups can simultaneously sit at up to 20 different workstations at different geographic locations and work on the same drawing since all participants see the same menu-driven display. Any and all of the stations, if given permission by the master/client workstation, may edit the drawing or point to a feature with a mouse, and all workstation pointers are all simultaneously displayed. Changes are immediately seen by everyone.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.