Falkner, Andreas (Siemens AG Austria) | Friedrich, Gerhard (University of Klagenfurt) | Haselböck, Alois (Siemens AG Austria) | Schenner, Gottfried (Siemens AG Austria) | Schreiner, Herwig (Siemens AG Austria)
The development of problem solvers for configuration tasks is one of the most successful and mature application areas of artificial intelligence. The provision of tailored products, services, and systems requires efficient engineering and design processes where configurators play a crucial role. Because one of the core competencies of Siemens is to provide such highly engineered and customized systems, ranging from solutions for medium-sized and small businesses up to huge industrial plants, the efficient implementation and maintenance of configurators are important goals for the success of many departments. For more than 25 years the application of constraint-based methods has proven to be a key technology in order to realize configurators at Siemens. This article summarizes the main aspects and insights we have gained looking back over this period. In particular, we highlight the main technology factors regarding knowledge representation, reasoning, and integration which were important for our achievement. Finally we describe selected key application areas where the business success vitally depends on the high productivity of configuration processes.