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Identification of Subproblems in Complex Design Problems: A Study of Facility Design

[+] Author Affiliations
Azrah Azhar, Erica L. Gralla

George Washington University, Washington, DC

Connor Tobias, Jeffrey W. Herrmann

University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Paper No. DETC2016-60397, pp. V007T06A018; 9 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 28th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, August 21–24, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5019-0
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Many design problems are too difficult to solve all at once; therefore, design teams often decompose these problems into more manageable subproblems. While there has been much interest in engineering design teams, no standard method has been developed to understand how teams solve design problems. This paper describes a method for analyzing a team’s design activities and identifying the subproblems that they considered. This method uses both qualitative and quantitative techniques; in particular, it uses association rule learning to group variables into subproblems. We used the method on data from ten teams who redesigned a manufacturing facility. This approach provides researchers with a clear structure for using observational data to identify the problem decomposition patterns of human designers.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Topics: Design



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