A Knowledge Based Approach to Facilitate Enginering Design
MIT Sloan Working Paper No. 4381-02; Eller College Working Paper No. 1020-05
61 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2002
Date Written: September 2002
This paper presents a knowledge-based approach to facilitate the engineering design process relating to spacecrafts. Because the design evolves over a long time and typically involves individuals working at different locations and frequently for different organizations, the degree of collaboration across temporal and spatial boundaries plays a major role in determining the aggregate time and cost involved in each instance of spacecraft design. A major aspect of such collaboration is the issue of communications - the ability to clearly and efficiently explicate and record the detailed needs of every stakeholder in the process, as well as the major design decisions and the rationale behind these decisions. The approach described in this paper provides a framework for facilitating the decision-making process in engineering design, by eliciting and capturing the goals and requirements of every stakeholder in the design process through utility and expense functions. An interactive system has been designed that incorporates a four faceted knowledge-based framework of knowledge acquisition, knowledge discovery, knowledge management and knowledge dissemination to provide designers and stakeholders with the capability to develop an evolving knowledge repository about all aspects of the design process. This interactive system includes the ability to capture succeeding versions of the detailed design, with zero or minimal human involvement; the capability is provided by a set of algorithms collectively named as SSPARCy. A complimentary tool, called MIST, facilitates the Multi-Attribute Tradespace Exploration process by enabling stakeholders to express their goals and preferences in a formalized manner. The combination of MIST and SSPARCy paradigms enables one to transform crucial applications that are today contingent on geographical proximity to occur with equal or superior effectiveness in a virtual world. While this paper analyzes a situation involving engineering design of spacecrafts, the proposed knowledge-based approach can be readily adopted to facilitate other applications that involve sustained collaboration across geographic and corporate boundaries.
Keywords: Knowledge Acquisition, Knowledge Management, Knowledge Discovery, Knowledge Dissemination, Engineering Design, Knowledge Based
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