The technology invented and developed by Configit is based on the key notion of a Virtual Table. The Virtual Table stores all legal configurations. Virtual Tables may contain millions of configurations in very little storage.
In an example taken from an interactive configurator for tailor-making bicycles, 127 million different combinations were stored in only six kilobytes of memory.
Configuration with Virtual Tabulation has two phases: an offline and online phase. In the offline phase the Virtual Table is constructed and in the online phase it is used to provide interactive configuration.
Virtual Tabulation maintains the benefits of dynamic search algorithms while overcoming the shortcomings associated with algorithms. Offline, a Virtual Table is generated once for each product model (much like with the compilation of a computer program) and can then be used repeatedly without using the product model.
Due to fundamental mathematical results about product models, it is impossible to give performance guarantees on the construction of a Virtual Table (for the same reason that no guarantees can be given for the dynamic search). However, when the Virtual Table has been generated, exact bounds can be given on the time for performing lookups. When the Virtual Table is used online, there is no uncertainty about performance.
The size of the Virtual Table is important. Surprisingly, the size does not depend on how the rules of the product model are formulated, only on what configurations are correct and on choices made in the generation about the internal organization of the Virtual Table.
This has a very important consequence: There is no need for re-engineering of the rules. The rules can be kept in formulations that are natural for the persons in charge of the products. This greatly improves maintenance of the product model.
The software for performing lookup in Virtual Tables is relatively simple and compact, making it possible to use it in a wide range of applications. Just as with the compact Virtual Tables, it is, for instance, possible to store it in small devices such as industrial controllers or cell phones.
The algorithms for Virtual Tabulation are based on mathematical logic. This ensures no faulty configurations will be allowed by Virtual Tables.
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