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Design Heuristics: Analysis and Synthesis From Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Architecture Team

[+] Author Affiliations
Kenton B. Fillingim, Richard Ossie Nwaeri, Katherine Fu

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Felipe Borja

Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA

Christiaan J. J. Paredis

Clemson University, Greenville, SC

Paper No. DETC2018-85584, pp. V007T06A014; 10 pages
  • ASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 30th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, August 26–29, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5184-5
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


This study offers insight into the processes of expert designers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and how they make use of heuristics in the design process. A methodology for the extraction, classification, and characterization of heuristics is presented. Ten expert participants were interviewed to identify design heuristics used during early stage space mission design at JPL. In total, 101 heuristics were obtained, classified, and characterized. Through the use of postinterview surveys, participants characterized heuristics based on attributes including source/origin, applicability based on concept maturity, frequency of use, reliability, and tendency to evolve. These findings are presented, and statistically analyzed to show correlations between the participant perceptions of frequency of use, reliability, and evolution of a heuristic. Survey results and analysis aim to identify valid attributes for assessing the applicability and value of multiple heuristics for design practice in early space mission formulation.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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