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Predictabilty of Change in Engineering: A Complexity View

[+] Author Affiliations
Claudia Eckert, John Clarkson

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Chris Earl

The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Paper No. DETC2005-85435, pp. 341-350; 10 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5a: 17th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Long Beach, California, USA, September 24–28, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4742-X | eISBN: 0-7918-3766-1
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


Design changes can be surprisingly complex. We examine the problems they cause and discuss the problems involved in predicting how changes propagate, based on empirical studies. To assist this analysis we distinguish between (a) a static background of connectivities (b) descriptions of designs, processes, resources and requirements and (c) the dynamics of design tasks acting on descriptions. The background might consist of existing designs and subsystems, or established processes used to create them. The predictability of design change is examined in terms of this model, especially the types and scope of uncertainties and where complexities arise. An industrial example of change propagation is presented in terms of the background (connectivity) - description - action model.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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