Optimization Methods for Calculating Design Imprecision

Manuscript prepared for submission to the ASME 1995 Design Automation Conference.

William S. Law
Engineering Design Research Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California 91125
law@design.caltech.edu

Erik K. Antonsson
Engineering Design Research Laboratory
Division of Engineering and Applied Science
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California 91125


The preliminary design process is characterized by imprecision: the vagueness of an incomplete design description. The Method of Imprecision uses the mathematics of fuzzy sets to explicitly represent and manipulate imprecise preliminary design information, enabling the designer to explore the space of alternative designs in the context of the designer and customer's preferences among alternatives. This paper introduces new methods to perform Method of Imprecision calculations for general non-monotonic design evaluation functions that address the practical necessity to minimize the number of function evaluations. These methods utilize optimization and experiment design.