The problem of sharing data has many facets. The need to share data across multiple enterprises, different hardware platforms, different data storage paradigms and systems, and a variety of network architectures is growing. The emerging Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data (STEP), a project of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), addresses this need by providing information models which clearly and unambiguously describe data. These models are organized into application protocols. An application protocol addresses the data sharing needs for a particular application area. STEP integrates the information requirements from all the application protocols. the validity of these information models is essential for success in sharing data in a highly automated environment.
This paper describes how information models will be validated in the National PDES Testbed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, (PDES, Product Data Exchange using STEP, is the U.S. effort in support of the international standard.) Application model development and testing is a complex process which involves synthesizing, analyzing, and manipulating large amounts of diverse information. Most of the process relies exclusively on human capabilities for analysis s, judgment, and interaction; however, part of this process can and should be automated. A strategy for automation is based on an analysis of the flow of information in the model development and testing process and initial experiences with automation for validation testing at the National PDES Testbed.