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Technical Paper

Decision-Based Universal Design - Using Copulas to Model Disability

2015-04-14
2015-01-0418
This paper develops a design paradigm for universal products. Universal design is term used for designing products and systems that are equally accessible to and usable by people with and without disabilities. Two common challenges for research in this area are that (1) There is a continuum of disabilities making it hard to optimize product features, and (2) There is no effective benchmark for evaluating such products. To exacerbate these issues, data regarding customer disabilities and their preferences is hard to come by. We propose a copula-based approach for modeling market coverage of a portfolio of universal products. The multiattribute preference of customers to purchase a product is modeled as Frank's Archimedean Copula. The inputs from various disparate sources can be collected and incorporated into a decision system.
Technical Paper

A Cost-Driven Method for Design Optimization Using Validated Local Domains

2013-04-08
2013-01-1385
Design optimization often relies on computational models, which are subjected to a validation process to ensure their accuracy. Because validation of computer models in the entire design space can be costly, we have previously proposed an approach where design optimization and model validation, are concurrently performed using a sequential approach with variable-size local domains. We used test data and statistical bootstrap methods to size each local domain where the prediction model is considered validated and where design optimization is performed. The method proceeds iteratively until the optimum design is obtained. This method however, requires test data to be available in each local domain along the optimization path. In this paper, we refine our methodology by using polynomial regression to predict the size and shape of a local domain at some steps along the optimization process without using test data.
Journal Article

A Simulation and Optimization Methodology for Reliability of Vehicle Fleets

2011-04-12
2011-01-0725
Understanding reliability is critical in design, maintenance and durability analysis of engineering systems. A reliability simulation methodology is presented in this paper for vehicle fleets using limited data. The method can be used to estimate the reliability of non-repairable as well as repairable systems. It can optimally allocate, based on a target system reliability, individual component reliabilities using a multi-objective optimization algorithm. The algorithm establishes a Pareto front that can be used for optimal tradeoff between reliability and the associated cost. The method uses Monte Carlo simulation to estimate the system failure rate and reliability as a function of time. The probability density functions (PDF) of the time between failures for all components of the system are estimated using either limited data or a user-supplied MTBF (mean time between failures) and its coefficient of variation.
Journal Article

Enhancing Decision Topology Assessment in Engineering Design

2014-04-01
2014-01-0719
Implications of decision analysis (DA) on engineering design are important and well-documented. However, widespread adoption has not occurred. To that end, the authors recently proposed decision topologies (DT) as a visual method for representing decision situations and proved that they are entirely consistent with normative decision analysis. This paper addresses the practical issue of assessing the DTs of a designer using their responses. As in classical DA, this step is critical to encoding the DA's preferences so that further analysis and mathematical optimization can be performed on the correct set of preferences. We show how multi-attribute DTs can be directly assessed from DM responses. Furthermore, we show that preferences under uncertainty can be trivially incorporated and that topologies can be constructed using single attribute topologies similarly to multi-linear functions in utility analysis. This incremental construction simplifies the process of topology construction.
Journal Article

A Nonparametric Bootstrap Approach to Variable-size Local-domain Design Optimization and Computer Model Validation

2012-04-16
2012-01-0226
Design optimization often relies on computational models, which are subjected to a validation process to ensure their accuracy. Because validation of computer models in the entire design space can be costly, a recent approach was proposed where design optimization and model validation were concurrently performed using a sequential approach with both fixed and variable-size local domains. The variable-size approach used parametric distributions such as Gaussian to quantify the variability in test data and model predictions, and a maximum likelihood estimation to calibrate the prediction model. Also, a parametric bootstrap method was used to size each local domain. In this article, we generalize the variable-size approach, by not assuming any distribution such as Gaussian. A nonparametric bootstrap methodology is instead used to size the local domains. We expect its generality to be useful in applications where distributional assumptions are difficult to verify, or not met at all.
Journal Article

Multi-Objective Decision Making under Uncertainty and Incomplete Knowledge of Designer Preferences

2011-04-12
2011-01-1080
Multi-attribute decision making and multi-objective optimization complement each other. Often, while making design decisions involving multiple attributes, a Pareto front is generated using a multi-objective optimizer. The end user then chooses the optimal design from the Pareto front based on his/her preferences. This seemingly simple methodology requires sufficient modification if uncertainty is present. We explore two kinds of uncertainties in this paper: uncertainty in the decision variables which we call inherent design problem (IDP) uncertainty and that in knowledge of the preferences of the decision maker which we refer to as preference assessment (PA) uncertainty. From a purely utility theory perspective a rational decision maker maximizes his or her expected multi attribute utility.
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