Visualization as a Decision Support Tool in Multidisciplinary Design
Kemper Lewis Principal Investigator
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This grant provides funding for the development of a numerical and visualization tool to assist designers in making decisions in industrial environments wherein numerous designers are interacting to develop the same product. The key deliverable will be a decision support tool where designers can view local and non-local optimal design spaces (i.e. their own optimal design space or that of another discipline's or subsystem's), predict and visualize the effects of local and non-local decisions, and identify good and robust solution regions based on this information. The foundations for the theoretical development and practical use of the tool are Graph Morphing (a visualization technique to view design spaces), Game Theory (a set of constructs that model the interactions among decision makers), and robust design techniques (which strive to minimize the effects of uncontrollable factors without eliminating the factors themselves). If successful, the results of this research will lead to insights and improvements in using mathematical models to approximate the interfaces between subsystems and designers. The primary goal of this work is to develop a robust visualization approach to allow multiple designers to view n-dimensional optimal design problems graphically. This capability will allow multiple designers working on the same product to identify robust, insensitive regions in a local (for example, subsystem or disciplinary) or non-local (for example, other discipline or system level) design space, both numerically and graphically. The primary advantage of the decision support methods and tools developed in this work will be to provide information about the effects of the decisions being made by multiple designers on the other subsystems and to help designers use this information to make intelligent decisions about the variables and subsystems over which they have control.