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Design thinking, the label given to the acts of designing, has become a paradigmatic view that has transcended the discipline of design and is now widely used in business and elsewhere. As a consequence there is an increasing interest in design research. This is because of the realization that design is part of the wealth creation of a nation and needs to be better understood and taught. The continuing globalization of industry and trade has required nations to re-examine where their core contributions lie if not in production efficiency. Design is a precursor to manufacturing for physical objects and is the precursor to implementation for virtual objects. At the same time, the need for sustainable development requires the design of new products and processes, which feeds a movement towards design innovations and inventions.

The papers in this volume are from the Fifth International Conference on Design Computing and Cognition (DCC’12) held at Texas A & M University, USA. They represent the state-of-the-art of research and development in design computing and design cognition. They are of particular interest to researchers, developers and users of advanced computation in design and those who need to gain a better understanding of designing.



Design by Analogy


Analogical Problem Evolution in Biologically Inspired Design

Conceptual design typically entails co-evolution of the design problem and the design solution: initial problem formulations lead to preliminary solutions; incremental changes in the proposed solution lead to new insights into the design problem, and so on. In this paper, we describe a complementary process: problem evolution using analogies to already existing design cases. In particular, we present a case study in the context of biologically inspired design that inspects the evolution of an ill-defined design problem from inception to conceptual design. This case study demonstrates three important aspects of problem evolution from inception: first, significant problem evolution may occur independent of the generation of a new design solution for that problem; second, existing solutions to related problems serve as analogies that influence the way in which the problem is formulated; and third, the use of existing solutions from different domains, for example from existing biological solutions to engineering design problems, generates value not only by offering both potentially innovative solutions but also by changing the formulation of the problem itself.

Michael E. Helms, Ashok K. Goel

Understanding Analogical Reasoning in Biomimetic Design: An Inductive Approach

This paper reports insights gained from observing groups of novice designers apply biological analogies to solve design problems. We recorded the discourse of fourth-year mechanical engineering students during biomimetic design sessions. We observed that the availability of associations from superficial or functional characteristics of biological knowledge led to fixation, which affected the designers’ ability to identify the relevant analogy. In addition, even after identifying the analogy, the designers fixated on mapping irrelevant characteristics of biological knowledge, instead of developing additional solutions based on the previously detected analogy. The paper also presents initial work towards quantifying analogical reasoning in a design study.

Hyunmin Cheong, Gregory Hallihan, L. H. Shu

Evaluating Methods for Bioinspired Concept Generation

Bioinspired design, the practice of using biological organisms and systems to inspire the design of engineering systems, has traditionally been performed without the use of systematic tools or methods to aid the designer. In recent years however, several tools have been developed to help designers effectively use bioinspiration for engineering design. These methods include BioTRIZ, functional modeling, biological keyword searches, and online repositories such as This paper briefly reviews some of these methods and presents the summary of three studies that offer empirical examinations of those methods. In two studies the methods are taught and used by groups of graduate-level engineering students. The successes and difficulties that the students encountered using the bioinspired design methods are discussed and evaluated. Additionally, a third controlled study examines a group of undergraduate mechanical engineering students with no formal training in ideation methods. The students were given one of two design problems and instructed to either generate ideas or to generate ideas while considering how nature might solve the problem. This controlled study allows a quantitative analysis of ad hoc approaches to bioinspired design.

Michael W. Glier, Joanna Tsenn, Daniel A. McAdams, Julie S. Linsey

Design Cognition-1


Role of Personas and Scenarios in Creating Shared Understanding of Functional Requirements: An Empirical Study

Elicitation of requirements is a key step of the design activity. The building of a shared understanding of design requirements is essential to the performance of the design. Personas and scenarios are used in order to define end users and their needs. Their usage is becoming more and more popular, especially in Software and System Engineering and Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Our hypothesis is that scenarios and personas improve shared understanding of functional requirements between co-designers. In order to test this hypothesis, an empirical study has been undertaken in a laboratory context. This paper presents the protocol of the study and discusses the indicators used for measurement of shared understanding.

Eric Blanco, Franck Pourroy, Serap Arikoglu

Exploring Designing Styles Using a Problem–Solution Division

This paper presents a measurement-based exploration of designing styles within the context of different design disciplines and tasks based on the design cognition of small design teams. Twelve final-year industrial design and twelve mechanical engineering design students were recruited to form teams of two. Each team undertook two conceptual product design tasks with different classes of requirements. Protocols of conversations and observations of design activities were then examined using an ontologically-based coding scheme. A problem–solution index was proposed to classify design sessions into problem-focused and solution-focused designing styles. Results suggest that industrial design student teams have a designing style that is more focused on the design problem than mechanical engineering student teams. The same design team may change its relative focusing on problem or solution in response to different classes of design requirements.

Hao Jiang, John S. Gero, Ching-Chiaun Yen

Mitigating Design Fixation Effects in Engineering Design Through Product Dissection Activities

Design fixation plays an important role in design idea generation, and has been found to be complex in its definition and implications. Identifying the factors that influence fixation is crucial in understanding how to improve design pedagogy and mitigate fixation effects. One way to potentially mitigate fixation is through product dissection activities as this activity has been shown to increase creativity and design exploration in engineering design. However, since product dissection has not been studied in terms of design fixation, it is unclear if, or how, this type of activity influences fixation. In addition, although prior work studied product dissection in a team environment, it did not study how individual factors such as personality attributes influence one’s involvement, or exposure to the dissection. This is an important factor to study in order to understand how team-based dissection activities influence design fixation because the participation of each team member can be affected by factors such as personality traits. Therefore, this study explores the interaction between product dissection, personality traits, and design fixation in an engineering design class setting. It was found that design fixation was indeed impacted by extraversion and conscientiousness personality traits when adjusting for semester standing and exposure to the dissection activity. These findings implicate personality in the product dissection activity, as well as suggest product dissection as a way to mitigate design fixation. By understanding these interactions, the overall design process can be enhanced, as well as our understanding of design cognition.

Christine Toh, Scarlett Miller, Gül Kremer

Design Fixation: A Cloak of Many Colors

The term

design fixation

is often used interchangeably to refer to situations where designers limit their creative output because of an overreliance on features of preexisting designs, or more generally, an overreliance on a specific body of knowledge directly associated with a problem. In this paper, we argue that interdisciplinary interest in design fixation has led to increasingly broad definitions of the phenomenon which may be undermining empirical research efforts, educational efforts to minimize fixation, and the transdisciplinary distribution of knowledge about fixation effects. To address these issues, the authors recommend that researchers consider categorizing fixation phenomena into one of three classifications:

unconscious adherence

to the influence of prior designs,

conscious blocks

to change, and

intentional resistance

to new ideas. Next, we distinguish between




design fixation, fixation to a specific class of known design concepts, and




design fixation, fixation to a problem-specific knowledge base. With these distinctions in place, we propose a system of


of design fixation, recommend methods for reducing fixation in inventive design, and recommend areas that are in need of further research within the field of design science.

Robert J. Youmans, Tomasz Arciszewski

Design Creativity


A Systematic Approach Towards Creative Urban Design

The last few decades have witnessed a shift from utopianism towards systematic approaches in urban design thinking. The shift has been faced by challenges emerging from the mutual belonging of architecture to both art and science domains. In addition to the widely held claims that a knowledge-based urban design approach would restrain creativity, systematic approaches have been challenged by the complex nature of cities. A full account of the conflicting and overlapping variables in urban design is seen to be unfeasible due to the linear nature of design process. For that, we present a prioritized structure model of design thinking that builds on the generic function of movement in cities. On this ground, we prioritize spatially-determined variables over other quantitative and qualitative variables. We implement the prioritized structure in designing a hypothetical city. From our experiment, we conclude that a knowledge-based design approach can help defining the parameter constrains for solution space. In this process, a creative design input is seen to be inevitable to further define design features and allocate functional relationships. It is seen, however; that by externalizing this process we make explicit the dialectic of design hermeneutics. This approach can be of high value as it enables users and other parties to engage in determining the course of actions required to reach to desirable design criteria.

Kinda Al Sayed

Quantified Study of the Aesthetic Appeal of the Formal Conceptual Elements in New Products Design Through Conjoint Analysis

Would it be possible to know exactly what do people want regarding the form of the products they buy? Different studies were created to give us such answer, but those studies tend to use images of already existing products and because of that, such studies throw much more than the answers that we are looking for. Besides what people want, those studies reveal what the brands want people to want. That is why the following study makes an analysis of some of the various formal elements used in the design of new products, highlighting some representative ones to use them in a conjoint analysis study that will show which are the most appreciated formal attributes in a specific demographic group.

Fernán Acevedo López, Jorge Alcaide Marzal

Evaluating Creativity in Parametric Design Processes and Products: A Pilot Study

Parametric design is an emerging research issue in the design domain. However, our current understanding of creativity in relation to either a process or product standpoint is limited. This paper presents a formal approach for the description and identification of creativity from both perspectives. The framework combines: (1) protocol analysis for encoding cognitive design activities, providing a process-based evaluation of creativity, and (2) consensual assessment of parametric products, providing a product-based evaluation of creativity. The coding scheme is based on the creative acts: Representation, Perception, and Searching for a Solution. The consensual assessment technique is based on a series of creativity evaluations undertaken by an expert panel. The effectiveness of this approach was examined in a pilot study. Findings show the capture of cognitive activities and identification of creative patterns, revealing how they correspond to the creativity levels of parametric design products. The results identify conditions that have the potential to enhance creativity in parametric design. This research provides a promising procedure not yet available and contributes to the development and verification of a formal approach for evaluating creativity in parametric design.

Ju Hyun Lee, Ning Gu, Julie Jupp, Sue Sherratt

Interaction in Optimisation Problems: A Case Study in Truss Design

This paper is a preliminary study to explore the benefits of user interaction in topology optimisation by attempting to support two distinct claims: the first claim states that there exist similarly optimal, yet visually different designs based on the exact same parameters. The second one supports that accurately predicting the outcome can guide the program to faster convergence by skipping intermediary steps. For the purpose of this research a program based on Sigmund’s



line MATLAB code for

topology optimisation

was developed to implement real-time interaction. The programming language chosen was Java® for its flexibility and ease of scripting as well as its global efficiency. Both claims were tested through two distinct sets of experiments. The first one modified the designs by adding and/or removing material and proved the existence of similarly optimal yet different designs. The second one explored the use of pseudo-filters to simulate intuition and managed significant decreases in the amount of iterations necessary for convergence. This second experiment also produced slightly stiffer designs. Both experiments led to the conclusion that user interaction, when used responsibly, helps topology optimisation in generating creativity and in speeding the process.

Simon de Timary, Sean Hanna

Design Cognition—2


The Role of Design Team Interaction Structure on Individual and Shared Mental Models

The interaction structure of problem solving teams in design and other domains, and its effects on ideation outcomes is a well-explored topic in the study of team cognition in problem solving and design. Much less is known on how changes in team interaction structure influence the development of mental models over the course of work on a problem. This study aims to understand the relationship between team interaction structure and mental model development by measuring the similarity of individual mental models across time with respect to the individual and other group members. Three-member design teams from upper-level engineering design courses worked either independently or interactively on a mechanical design task for either the 1st half or the 2nd half of the design process. Participants were periodically interrupted for a written description of their mental models of the design process. Descriptions were analyzed with Latent Semantic Analysis to assess mental model convergence. Results show working together has a substantive impact on shared mental models of the design process, and team interaction was associated with more self-consistent mental models of individual team members across time. Working independently was also associated with mental models that were more similar to final design outcomes. Implications for team interaction structure, mental model development, and design fixation are discussed.

Matthew Wood, Pinzhi Chen, Katherine Fu, Jonathan Cagan, Kenneth Kotovsky

An Empirical Study of the Effectiveness of Selected Cognitive Aids on Multiple Design Tasks

The objective of this work is to study the concept generation effectiveness of three cognitive design aids: TRIZ—an ideation method, Sketching—a representation format, and use of the Smartpen—a journaling technology. The hypothesis is that TRIZ, Sketching and Smartpen, each improve the effectiveness of the concept generation process. The participating subjects belong to Penn State’s Introduction to Work Design (IE 327) course. The course focuses on concepts of work design and measurement applied to manufacturing and service industries with a focus on improving worker performance, health and safety analyses. In the paper, we report on two sequentially completed design case studies, which allowed us to study the same group of subjects under two conditions. The first case study involved redesigns of a wire-cutter and a screw driver to improve work productivity. The second case consisted of analyzing an ultrasound operation for which students suggested improvements to the workplace and a redesign of the ultrasound transducer taking into account ergonomics and human factors principles. Our results indicate that indeed the tested design aids improved the ideation effectiveness; Smartpen has done the best in terms of increasing quantity of ideas generated, and TRIZ was the best in enhancing novelty.

Noe Vargas Hernandez, Linda C. Schmidt, Gul Okudan Kremer, Chun-Yu Lin

A Pilot Protocol Study on How Designers Construct Function Structures in Novel Design

This paper reports a pilot protocol study that examines how designers construct function models as they develop and explore solution architectures for novel design problems. The purpose of this pilot project is to establish the experiment method and analysis protocol so that a repeatable and statistically large pool of participants can be used to draw significant conclusions about function model construction. In the study, voluntary participants with varied levels of experience in product design and function modeling are given a novel design problem and asked to develop functional architectures as part of concept development, using function structures as the modeling tool/language. The modeling actions are videotaped and the designers are interviewed using a predesigned questionnaire after the experiment. The data is analyzed using a predefined protocol that encodes the addition, deletion, and modification of model elements such as functions, flows, and text, and also actions such as reading the problem statement and pausing. The protocol analysis reveals patterns of modeling activities, such as forward chaining (expanding the model by adding functions to the head of flows and flows outgoing of functions), backward chaining (adding functions to the tail of flows and adding flows incoming to functions), and nucleation (starting with a few disconnected functions and flows, and gradually connecting them to complete the model). In aggregate, these observations provide insight into designers’ thinking patterns while exploring solutions to unseen problems using function structures. The protocol is demonstrated to be complete within the scope of the study. The preliminary findings based on the two participants indicate that various parameters of solution exploration may largely vary between designers. The overall approach of model expansion also varies between forward chaining and nucleation. However, at a finer resolution of observing modeling actions, designers generally prefer nucleation or forward chaining of functions and forward or backward chaining of flows.

Chiradeep Sen, Joshua D. Summers

Commonalities Across Designing: Empirical Results

This paper presents empirical evidence of commonalities across designing that appear to be independent of the designers’ geographical location, expertise, discipline, the specific design task, the size and composition of the design team, and the length of the design session. Our evidence is founded on thirteen highly heterogeneous design case studies that differ along these dimensions but exhibit some commonalities. We analysed the results from protocols of these case studies produced by a variety of researchers, using a method that is based on the FBS framework and is independent of any domain- or situation-specific parameter. We found commonalities across all thirteen case studies, related to the first occurrence of design issues in the design process, and to the continuity and the rate with which design issues are generated. Our findings provide preliminary support for the claim that designing can be studied as a distinct human activity that appears in different expressions but shares the same fundamental characteristics.

John S. Gero, Udo Kannengiesser, Morteza Pourmohamadi

Design Generation


Integrated Generative Design Tools for the Mass Customization of Furniture

This paper presents the optimisation step in a grammar-based generative design system for the mass customisation of furniture. The ongoing research assesses the use of integrated CAD-CAE tools in the development of a digital design process involving closer collaboration between design and engineering as a feasible motivation for optimum designs. The optimisation of structural behaviour is illustrated by a series of experiments using a simulated annealing algorithm to explore solutions for custom chairs generated by parametric models. Constraints are defined according to the aesthetic considerations established in the design language. The paper concludes with a discussion of the effective use of integrated performance tools in furniture design methodology in the age of mass customisation.

Mário Barros, José Pinto Duarte, B. M. Chaparro

A Transformation Grammar-Based Methodology for Housing Rehabilitation

The goal of this research is to rehabilitate the existing housing stock to meet the new needs of dwellers in the current information society and the consequent need for the integration of Information, Communication and Automation Technologies (ICAT) in living areas. This article focuses on the use of both shape grammar and space syntax as tools to identify and encode the principles and rules behind the adaptation of existing houses to new requirements. The idea is to use such rules as part of a methodology for the rehabilitation of existing dwellings.

Sara Eloy, Jose Pinto Duarte

A Generic Shape Grammar for the Palladian Villa, Malagueira House, and Prairie House

Shape grammars are formulations consisting of transformation rules that describe design. Previous studies have focused on recreating the style of family-related solutions. This study does not aim to recreate a specific architectural style but is part of wider research aimed at inferring shape grammars. It is believed that more than one grammar can be developed for the same style, but no one has ever demonstrated this possibility. In addition, no one has ever developed a grammar that can describe more than one style. The aim of this work is to demonstrate both possibilities. Firstly, it proposes a shape grammar that can produce three different design styles, and, secondly, it uses a process that is distinctively different from other tested examples yet still produces the same corpus of designs. It also enables a new corpus of designs to be produced, which had not been possible using the previous (or original) grammars. A selected case study of three grammars, namely for Palladian, Prairie and Malagueira houses, allowed for comparison and observation of the different processes and shape rules and for a new set of rules to be proposed, combined in a shape grammar. This was followed by the recreation of a new subdivision type of grammar with a top–down approach and a set of generic design rules. The result is a generic shape grammar that enables three different house styles to be designed from the same formulation.

Deborah Benrós, Sean Hanna, Jose Pinto Duarte

Shape and Space


Shape Interpretation with Design Computing

How information is interpreted has significant impact on how it can be used. This is particularly important in design where information from a wide variety of sources is used in a wide variety of contexts and in a wide variety of ways. This paper is concerned with the information that is created, modified and analysed during design processes, specifically with the information that is represented in shapes. It investigates how design computing seeks to support these processes, and the difficulties that arise when it is necessary to consider alternative interpretations of shape. The aim is to establish the problem of shape interpretation as a general challenge for research in design computing, rather than a difficulty that is to be overcome within specific processes. Shape interpretations are common characteristics of several areas of enquiry in design computing. This paper reviews these, brings an integrated perspective and draws conclusions about how this underlying process can be supported.

Iestyn Jowers, Chris Earl

Algebras of Shapes Revisited

This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of algebras of shapes as they are applied in a design theory, which involves shape grammars. Three different formats of these algebras, which (surprisingly) differ in behavior, will be explored. Some earlier informal ideas on algebras of shapes will be revisited and a formal underpinning will be provided. In particular, two different sums of algebras of shapes will be defined.

Djordje Krstic

Representing 3D Shape Grammars in a Generative Product Design System

A new representation of 3D shape, referred to as Dynamic Shape Representation, is introduced in this paper. This representation is aimed at better supporting the generative application of shape grammars in product design. Inspired from real design process at a cognitive level, shape transforming actions in product design instead of geometric and topologic features of the product form are represented and manipulated in our system. This Dynamic Shape Representation offers better support to generative design of conceptual product forms with flexible shape creations. Two product design examples are presented in this paper in order to evaluate the feasibility of this new representation for 3D shape grammar applications in design.

Jia Cui, Ming-Xi Tang

On the Evolution of Thoughts, Shapes and Space in Architectural Design

With a common vision, studies that looked into the configurations of shapes and structures in architectural spaces agree on the possibility of externalizing a universal language to interpret architectural artifacts. Focused on the product of architecture, it is less clear how this language evolves in the course of design. Studies within the framework of protocol analysis have been devised to decode design cognitive activity. In what concerns architecture as a social artifact, these studies were detached from the syntactic and grammatical readings of architecture. In an attempt to bring the relationship that couples form and structure together with the pronounced mental activity we aim at capturing regularities that tie thoughts, shapes and structures as they coevolve. For the purpose of the analysis, verbal comments along with their associated hand-drawn sketches were tracked in progress focusing on how space is partitioned in real-time. The addition of partitions marks changes on shapes and structures of the designed spaces. The paper discusses parametric relationships between shapes and structures as they change over the course of design and tracks their associated cognitive behavior on a linkograph. Our findings suggest that architects even though starting from different design preferences plot similarities in the course of design thinking and doing.

Kinda Al Sayed

Design Knowledge


Generalized Design Knowledge and the Higher-Order Singular Value Decomposition

The question of what constitutes generalized design knowledge is central to design cognition. It is knowledge of a generic variety about products, the type of knowledge that is not principally related to any one product per se, but to knowledge about a broad class of products or a broad class of operations to produce products. In this paper, we use a complex systems perspective to propose a computational approach toward deriving generalized design knowledge from product and process representations. We present an algorithm that produces a representation of generalized design knowledge based on two-dimensional and multi-dimensional representations of designed objects and design processes, with the objects and processes being represented as a complex network of interactions. Our results show that the method can be used to infer and extract macroscopic, system level organizational information, or generalized design knowledge, from microscopic, primary or secondary representations of objects and process.

Andy Dong, Somwrita Sarkar

Reformulating CK Theory with an Action Logic

CK theory is an interesting and unique theory of engineering design. This paper introduces


, a formal descriptive version of CK based on the action logic ALX3, which is able to represent aspects of the actions, preferences, beliefs, and knowledge of collaborating, imperfect agents (such as human designers). It is shown that all the basic notions of CK can be rendered in the logic of ALX3d with only one relatively minor change in how the CK terms




are defined and related. A case study of CK is used to show how ALX3d can also be used to describe some “real-world” situations. The advantages of ALX3d are that they recast CK in a form more readily understood by those accustomed to expert, knowledge-based, and formal systems; provide a “scientific” vehicle for reasoning about the design activities it can describe; and define a possible basis for the development of new, computer-based designers’ aids.

Filippo A. Salustri

On an Integrated Analytical Approach to Describe Quality Design Process in Light of Deterministic Information Theory

This paper introduces a methodology to analyse design linkographs by quantifying entropy at each single move throughout the design process. The method adopts the

deterministic information theory

proposed by Titchener to develop a quantitative model aiming to highlight the significant nodes by coding the dependency relations (




) into character strings of information. Two computational methods are suggested to quantify



code sets

on a micro-level at every single utterance. This proposition is intended to capture repetition of patterns and hierarchy in the linkograph pattern. This quantitative approach is integrated with a qualitative model of judging sketching episodes and evaluating the relations between the instantaneously evolved products during the design process such as the interim sketches. The results point at significant correlations between quantitative and qualitative models on the key nodes to occur in the process to identify the emergence of novel ideas and describe design creativity.

Tamer El-Khouly, Alan Penn

A Representational Scheme for the Extraction of Urban Genotypes

A representational scheme is described for cities, which uses the spectrum of the graph derived from a network of streets. This is of a sufficiently high dimensionality both to capture information of the city structure and to allow different representations of urban types to be extracted from it. It is proposed that a machine can extract the ‘genotype’ description that classifies a given group of cities. Results demonstrate that these capture morphological relationships between cities, and reveal correlations between these and a city’s geographical location. This has implications for our understanding of design processes and the modelling of creativity, in that the final representation can be made autonomously by the computer, rather than predefined by a priori standards.

Sean Hanna

Design Function


Function−Behavior−Structure Representation of the Grids in Graphic Design

Grid in graphic design is a well-known tool. It is used for planning and creating graphical layouts. Though lot of empirical literature on grids is available through various case studies and visual samples, there is hardly any articulation of the design process involving grids. This paper tries to present the formalism for design knowledge in application of grids in graphic design. The function-behaviour-structure framework is applied to grids for the understanding of design process. This framework is used to create a conceptual model for a grid in action and to define its variables. To demonstrate its significance, the potential advantages of this new approach are discussed.

Prasad Bokil, Shilpa Ranade

Beyond Function−Behavior−Structure

Our research is investigating the relationship between design problem formulation and creative outcome. Our research is investigating the relationship between design problem formulation and creative outcome. Towards that goal we have conducted experiments with designers engaged in problem formulation. In order to analyze such empirical data, a formal representation is needed. One popular model is Function-Behavior-Structure (FBS) and its several variants. Our problem map (P-map) model shares many features with FBS but also has important differences. We introduce a hierarchical representation not only in each of the F, B, S domains but in additional domains (requirements and issues). We also identify generic inter and intra-domain relationships between these entities, leading to a more expressive and flexible model that is domain independent and well suited for representing problem formulations of designers with different expertise levels and creativity. We have used the model for coding protocol data in a formal predicate logic language (Answer Set Prolog).

Mahmoud Dinar, Chris Maclellan, Andreea Danielescu, Jami Shah, Pat Langley

Functional Design Space Representations for Lead Qualification Situations

For businesses offering complex customized solutions the capability of their sales force to engage in problem-solution discovery is a crucial success factor in selling. In this context we investigate the application of functional representations to model design spaces related to situations where a salesperson is screening for potential customers (lead qualification). Therefore we present a conceptual approach on how to cast functional representations in the domain of lead qualification. We propose computational design space representations based on probability theory that take account for the uncertainties inherent in lead qualification. And we show results from a case study in which we test the practicability of the presented approach.

Julian R. Eichhoff, Wolfgang Maass

Using Part Functions to Capture Various Lifecycle Requirements in Detailed Design

Although various lifecycle requirements are critical for detailed design, they often merely remain as tacit knowledge in designers’ minds. This paper attempts to develop a formal approach for capturing them. Since detailed design primarily deals with part design, how to formally describe a part is introduced at first. A concept,

part function

, is then proposed for describing various lifecycle factors that should be considered for the detailed design of a part. A lifecycle requirements-capturing approach is then developed, where part functions are associated with the geometrical features or neighbor spaces used for achieving them so that various lifecycle constraints can be derived from those part function descriptions. A fixture design case illustrates the proposed lifecycle requirements-capturing approach.

Yong Chen, Jian Huang, Youbai Xie

Design Processes


Rule Based Stochastic Tree Search

This work presents a new search process for composite decision processes (CDPs; also known as a tree-search problems [


]) that is especially suited to problems represented by grammars. Many of the methods that are used to find an optimal or near-optimal solution in a large tree have been developed for path-planning problems (like A* [


]) and thus have requirements that are not well suited to design problems. With the recent attention on grammars in design, we find that design trees are often produced but difficult to search. Since existing path-planning methods are sensitive to the size of the space, and often put a low priority on the number of objective function evaluations, it is imperative to develop new search methods that can find the best solution within a large tree by doing the least number of evaluations as possible. In a previous paper, an interactive algorithm for searching in a graph grammar representation was presented.

Mukund Kumar, Matthew I. Campbell, Corinna Königseder, Kristina Shea

Capturing Ideation Paths for Discovery of Design Exploration Strategies in Conceptual Engineering Design

In conceptual design, the ideation state of a designer changes over time. As the designer gets deeper insight, discovers hidden requirements and conflicts, finds poor fit between proto-solutions and requirements, he/she adjusts or abandons particular directions of investigation. Thus, there is a continual change in issue formulation and solution strategy. We have created an instrument which facilitates the capture of the sequence of search and solution strategies in association with ideation states. We term this history of an individual’s process in generating design concepts, the “Ideation Path”. Our instrument provides the designer access to a range of intuitive and experiential ideation methods and tools, such as TRIZ, Bio-mimetics, Physical Effects/Working Principles, Design Repositories and several others. Ideation states are characterized in terms of ideation blocks, such as fixation, and the current level of production or satisfaction with ideas generated (quantity, quality, variety, novelty). We hope to use this instrument in collecting data from large numbers of designers and problems, in order to assess the effectiveness of different methods and paths in generating creative solutions.

Manikandan Mohan, Jami J. Shah, Sumit Narsale, Maryam Khorshidi

Field Based Behavior Regulation for Self-organization in Cellular Systems


cellular self-organizing

(CSO) approach is proposed to develop adaptive systems. The design of CSO systems however is difficult because the global effect emerges from local actions and interactions that can be specified and controlled. To achieve high level adaptability of CSO systems and acquire the capability of specifying desired global effects, we propose a

field based

regulative control mechanism, called

Field based Behavior Regulation

or FBR. FBR is a real-time, dynamical, distributed mechanism that allows CSO system cells to self-organize in complex operation environments. This paper describes the models of CSO and FBR and demonstrates their effectiveness through simulation based case studies.

Yan Jin, Chang Chen

Understanding Design Concept Identification

In the design literature, the term

design concept

is often used de facto, or with only a brief definition provided. Despite the cursory definition for


, the design process rests heavily on concepts, e.g., brainstorming and generating multiple design concepts, and subsequently identifying design concepts for concept selection, evaluation and development, etc. Concepts and concept formation are of particular interest in psychology, as concepts play a central role in human cognition. Concepts and concept identification are also of interest in other fields such as archaeology, bioinformatics and education. In this paper, we explore the process of design concept identification and address the issue of identifying design concepts in free-form text. Our exploratory experiment uses text transcripts of verbal concept generation sessions to first investigate agreeability between human concept identifiers. Next, we perform a language analysis on the transcripts to uncover language patterns that may differentiate between text segments containing concepts and text segments not containing concepts. Our results show that humans are adept at identifying and agreeing upon concepts (average agreeability >0.70), and that there are significant language differences that may distinguish concept segments from non-concept segments (i.e., non-concept segments have significantly more verbs and borderline significantly more self-references than concept segments). In general, automated concept identification may lead to better integration of early conceptual design with more detailed and computable downstream processes, resulting in a unified design workflow.

Ivey Chiu, Filippo A. Salustri


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