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Multidisciplinary Design Optimization for Complex Engineered Systems Design: State of the Research and State of the Practice—Report From a National Science Foundation Workshop

[+] Author Affiliations
Timothy W. Simpson

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Joaquim R. R. A. Martins

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Paper No. DETC2011-47237, pp. 835-845; 11 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5: 37th Design Automation Conference, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5482-2
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) has evolved remarkably since its inception 25 years ago. Despite these advances, the design of complex engineered systems remains a challenge, and many large-scale engineering projects are routinely plagued by exorbitant cost overruns and delays. To gain insight into these challenges, 48 people gathered from industry, academia, and government agencies to examine MDO’s current and future role in designing complex engineered systems. This paper summarizes the views of five distinguished speakers on the “state of the research” along with the discussions from an industry panel of representatives from Boeing, Caterpillar, Ford, NASA Glenn Research Center, and United Technologies Research Center on the “state of the practice”. This paper also summarizes the future research topics identified by breakout groups in five key areas: (1) modeling and the design space; (2) metrics, objectives, and requirements; (3) coupling in complex engineered systems; (4) dealing with uncertainty; and (5) people and workflow. Finally, five over-arching themes are offered to advance MDO. First, we need to engage more disciplines outside of engineering and look for opportunities to use MDO outside of its traditional areas. Second, MDO problem formulations must evolve to encompass a wider range of design criteria. Third, we need effective strategies for putting designers “back in the loop” during MDO. Fourth, we need to do a better job of publicizing the successful examples of MDO so that we can improve the “buy in” that is needed to advance MDO in academia, industry, and government agencies. Fifth, we need to better educate our students and practitioners on systems design, optimization, and MDO along with their benefits and drawbacks.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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