Methodology and tools Oriented to
Knowledge-Based Engineering Applications

MOKA is a methodology for developing Knowledge-Based Engineering applications, i.e. systems that support design engineers. It is particularly aimed at capturing and applying knowledge within aeronautical and automotive industries of the design of complex mechanical products.

Whilst huge benefits can be gained by the use of Knowledge-Based Engineering (KBE) technology, the lack of a recognised methodology has resulted in a significant risk when developing and maintaining KBE applications. MOKA aims to provide such a methodology, that:

  • Reduces the lead times and associated costs of developing KBE applications by 20 - 25%.
  • Provides a consistent way of developing and maintaining KBE applications.
  • Will form the basis of an international standard.
  • Makes use of a software tool to support the use of the methodology.

Need for MOKA

Companies have to manage and reuse engineering knowledge to improve business processes, to reduce time to find new solutions, to make correct first time and to retain best practices. The aim of MOKA is to provide a methodology to capture and formalise engineering knowledge to reuse it, for example within KBE applications. Development and maintenance of knowledge intensive software applications is a complex and potentially expensive activity. The number of Knowledge-Based Engineering (KBE) systems used in the aeronautical and automotive industries has increased in recent years. Experience has shown that long term risk can be reduced by employing a systematic methodology that covers the development and maintenance of such systems. The ESPRIT-IV funded project called MOKA (No. 25418) is intended to satisfy this need by providing both a methodology and a supporting software tool, both of which are independent of any KBE platform.

MOKA Analysis and Modelling

MOKA identifies two models to be used in the KBE application development lifecycle :

  • Informal Model: A structured, natural language representation of engineering knowledge using pre-defined forms.
  • Formal Model: A graphical, object-oriented representation of engineering knowledge at one level of abstraction above application code.

Within each of these models, various knowledge representations are used to help capture, analyse and structure the knowledge required for KBE applications.

Within the informal model, the main knowledge objects are:

  • Entities
    • Structural Entities (the components of the product being designed)
    • Functional Entities (the functions of the product and its sub-components)
  • Constraints (the design requirements of the product and its sub-components)
  • Activities (the tasks performed during the design process)
  • Rules (decision points in the design process that affect what tasks to perform)
  • Illustrations (examples that illustrate aspects of the product and design)


PCPACK can be used to satisfy the requirements for a supporting software tool for the MOKA methodology. It supports the capture, analysis, modelling and publishing of design knowledge using a MOKA framework.


MOKA (Methodology and tools Oriented to Knowledge-Based Engineering Applications) was an ESPRIT funded project that started in January 1998 and consisted of the following partners: Aerospatiale Matra (prime), British Aerospace, Daimler-Chrysler, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Knowledge Technologies International, Decan and Coventry University. A MOKA Interest Group continues to meet and develop the methodology.

More Information

For more information, you can visit the MOKA website.

A book, titled Managing Engineering Knowledge, offers knowledge engineers and system developers a comprehensive description of the MOKA methodology. The book, containing 300 pages, is a joint publishing activity of Professional Engineering Publishing Ltd (UK) and ASME Press (USA). For information see

Other Information:

Past Projects Knowledge Management
Past Projects Knowledge Engineering
Past Projects Knowledge Acquisition
Past Projects Knowledge Modelling
Past Projects Glossary

Last modified: 5 November 2004