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An Intelligent Systems Architecture for Manufacturing (ISAM); A Reference Model Architecture for Intelligent Manufacturing Systems



James S. Albus, John A. Horst, Hui-Min Huang, Thomas Kramer, Elena R. Messina, Alex Meystel, John L. Michaloski, Frederick M. Proctor, Harry A. Scott, Edward J. Barkmeyer Jr., M. K. Senehi


The Intelligent Systems Architecture for Manufacturing (ISAM) addresses the application of intelligent systems to the manufacturing enterprise at three degrees of abstraction: 1) a conceptual framework for developing metrics, standards, and performance measures, 2) a reference model architecture for conceptual design of intelligent systems, and 3) a set of engineering guidelines for the implementation of manufacturing applications. ISAM consists of a hierarchically layered set of intelligent processing nodes organized as a nested series of control loops. In each node, tasks are decomposed, plans are generated, world models are maintained, feedback from sensors is processed, and control loops are closed. In each layer, nodes have a characteristic span of control, with a characteristic planning horizon, and corresponding level of detail in space and time. Nodes at the higher levels deal with corporate and production management, while nodes at lower levels deal with machine coordination and process control. ISAM integrates and distributes deliberative planning and reactive control functions throughout the entire hierarchical architecture, at all levels, with different spatial and temporal scales at each level.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6771
Report Number


control architecture, intelligent control, intelligent systems, manufacturing architecture, operational architecture, reference model architecture, system architecture


Albus, J. , Horst, J. , Huang, H. , Kramer, T. , Messina, E. , Meystel, A. , Michaloski, J. , Proctor, F. , Scott, H. , Barkmeyer Jr., E. and Senehi, M. (2002), An Intelligent Systems Architecture for Manufacturing (ISAM); A Reference Model Architecture for Intelligent Manufacturing Systems, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed May 26, 2024)


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Created December 31, 2001, Updated October 12, 2021