A Process-Centric Problem Formulation for Decision-Based Design

TitleA Process-Centric Problem Formulation for Decision-Based Design
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsThompson, S. C., and C. J. J. Paredis
Conference NameProc. ASME 2009 International Design Engineering Technical Conf. & Computers and Information in Engineering Conf.

ABSTRACT Although recent work in Decision-Based Design (DBD) recognizes the need for an enterprise perspective in which the expected net revenue is the primary driver of utility, for the overwhelming majority of contributions in the DBD literature, the emphasis in the problem formulation is exclusively on the design artifact. This formulation of DBD problems is too narrow in scope, in that the use of resources during the design and development phase is overlooked. This omission makes it impossible to consider tradeoffs between the design artifact and the design process. In this paper, we reformulate the DBD problem in terms of the design process rather than the artifact. This new formulation more accurately represents the tradeoffs under consideration in an enterprise context and simplifies to the traditional DBD formulation if design phase resource use is assumed to be negligible. As a first step towards establishing this new formulation, a simple example problem is introduced and solved. The example involves a choice between two concepts, with an option to perform an analysis to reduce the uncertainty. Although several simplifying assumptions are made in this work that are not likely to apply in practical design problems, the intent of this work is to qualitatively explore the impact of relaxing some of the assumptions made implicitly in previous work in DBD. These assumptions include ignoring the costs of the design phase as well as the assumption that the value of a particular information source is independent of the ability to gain additional information from subsequent analyses. Solving the design process decision problem in this manner confirms the intuition that an analysis is worth performing only when the cost is low, the quality is high, and there is significant overlap in the predicted utility of the two concepts. In addition, this new DBD formulation is compared to related work in information economics, and we show that the new DBD formulation provides a more comprehensive model of the problem when a sequence of information sources is available.

Submitted by cparedis on Tue, 12/03/2013 - 11:04pm