A Knowledge Framework for Integrating Multiple Perspective in Decision-Centric Design
Mocko, Gregory Michael
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Problem: Engineering design decisions require the integration of information from multiple and disparate sources. However, this information is often independently created, limited to a single perspective, and not formally represented, thus making it difficult to formulate decisions. Hence, the primary challenge is the development of computational representations that facilitate the exchange of information for decision support. Approach: First, the scope of this research is limited to representing design decisions as compromise decision support problems (cDSP). To address this challenge, the primary hypothesis is that a formal language will enable the semantics of cDSP to be captured, thus providing a digital interface through which design information can be exchanged. The primary hypothesis is answered through the development of a description logic (DL) based formal language. The primary research question is addressed in four sub-questions. The first two research questions relate to the development of a vocabulary for representing the semantics of the cDSP. The first hypothesis used to answer this question is that formal information modeling techniques can be used to explicitly capture the semantics and structure of the cDSP. The second research question is focused on the realization of a computer-processible representation. The hypothesis used to answer this question is that DL can be used for developing computational-based representations. The third research question is related to the organization and retrieval of decision information. The hypothesis used to answer this question is DL reasoning algorithms can be used to support organization and retrieval. Validation: The formal language developed in this dissertation is theoretically and empirically validated using the validation square approach. Validation of the hypotheses is achieved by systematically building confidence through example problems. Examples include the cDSP construct, analysis support models, the design of a cantilever beam, and design of a structural fin array heat sink. Contributions: The primary contribution from this dissertation is a formal language for capturing the semantics of cDSPs and analysis support models comprised of: (1) a systematic methodology for decision formulation, (2) a cDSP vocabulary, (3) a graphical information model, and (4) a DL-based representation. The components, collectively, provide a means for exchanging cDSP information.
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