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A New Method for Design Decisions Using Decision Topologies

[+] Author Affiliations
Vijitashwa Pandey, Zissimos P. Mourelatos

Oakland University, Rochester, MI

Paper No. DETC2013-12360, pp. V03AT03A011; 10 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3A: 39th Design Automation Conference
  • Portland, Oregon, USA, August 4–7, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5588-1
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


This paper shows how reliability block diagrams can be used as a decision making tool. The premise behind the idea is that classical decision analysis while very powerful, does not provide tractability in assessing utility functions and their use in making decisions. Our recent work has shown that visual representation of systems using a reliability block diagram can be used to describe a decision situation. In decision making, we called these block diagrams decision topologies. We show that decision topologies can be used to make many engineering decisions and can replace decision analysis for most decisions. The paper proves that at the limit, using decision topologies is entirely consistent with decision analysis for both single attribute and multiattribute cases. The main advantages of the proposed method are that (1) it provides a visual representation of a decision situation, (2) it can easily model tradeoffs, (3) it allows binary attributes, (4) it can be used when limited information is available, and (5) it can be used in a low-fidelity sense to quickly make a decision. The paper details the theoretical basis of the proposed method and highlights its benefits. An example is used to demonstrate how decision topologies can be used in practice.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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