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Digital Shape Workbench

by Francesco Robbiano last modified 2007-10-18 20:43

The Digital Shape Workbench (DSW) is a common infrastructure for integrating, combining, adapting, enhancing existing and new software tools and shape databases. A direct benefit of the DSW is to speed-up research in digital shapes: each new research started in this field is slowed down by the need to master or integrate many different theoretical and technological aspects. The DSW acts as an e-Science framework in terms of an operational, large-scale, distributed and web based software system. The DSW involves the construction of the Shape Repository, the Tool Repository and the Ontology and Metadata Repository, together with an advanced Search Framework.

Shape Repository

The primary goal of the Shape Repository is to provide a shared collection of standard test cases and benchmarks in order to enable efficient prototyping as well as practical evaluation on real-world and large-scale shape models. Its distinctive feature is a full documentation of the most interesting geometric properties provided by detailed metadata of the common shape ontology. High-quality models are acquired specifically for the repository and tools from the Tool Repository are integrated to automatically extract metadata for certain shape categories. Additionally, the Shape Repository offers the unique possibility to download models for some shape categories in multi-resolution format at the desired Level of Detail.

Tool Repository

The Tool Repository is an inventory of shared software that collects and documents a large number of state-of-the-art tools that can be used at different stages of the digital shape lifecycle. The aim of the repository is to avoid overlapping of development efforts and to speed up research by sharing established knowledge. The repository includes libraries, standalone applications, tutorials and plugins. It can be browsed via a detailed taxonomy which reflects the knowledge related to the tools, and includes a brief specification of the tools usage, limits and capabilities as metadata.

Digital Library

The aim of the Digital Library is the creation of a common repository of scientific references and technical reports which integrate the bibliographies of the participating institutes and will become a reference search engine for publications on the topic of shape modelling and semantics. Each item in the Digital Library is described by metadata. References can be downloaded in the most common bibliographic formats, such as Bibtex or RIS.

Ontology and Metadata Repository

The Ontology and Metadata Repository (OMR) is the knowledge base back-end, which contains domain-specific and general knowledge related to shapes in terms of instances of the AIM@SHAPE ontology classes. The OMR is an ontology management system that allows storing, editing and accessing ontologies and ontology-driven metadata. The OMR is closely related to the semantic search engine: the expressiveness and flexibility of the search is constrained by the way the information is stored in the repository and the logical formalism that is used to describe this information.

Search Framework

The Search Framework involves both a semantic and a geometric approach.

  • Semantic Search Engine

    The Semantic Search Engine (SSE) is used for simple search of resources uploaded into the OMR, but it also allows to acquire implicit knowledge pertaining to the available resources, by using semantic criteria and an inference engine. Explicit information is stored in the OMR in terms of resources and their metadata, while implicit information can be deduced on the basis of the relationships and rules induced by the ontologies. The inference engine is able to search the SR, the TR and the DL and to answer any query regarding those repositories, possibly using inference, in a transparent way.

  • Geometric Search Engine

    The Geometric Search Engine (GSE) provides content-based 3D shape retrieval mechanisms according to different similarity criteria and matching methods (e.g. global and partial matching, sub-part correspondence, part-in-whole) The GSE adds to the DSW e-Science platform the possibility to act as a 3D retrieval benchmarking system.


The Glossary aims at the definition of a common vocabulary which will be used by the Consortium to deal with digital shapes. The list of identified terms represents a meaningful and commonly understood set of terms describing different aspects of digital shapes.

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