Research in Engineering Design

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 189–209

Axiomatic Design Theory for Systems

  • Nam P. Suh

DOI: 10.1007/s001639870001

Cite this article as:
Suh, N. Res Eng Des (1998) 10: 189. doi:10.1007/s001639870001


A general theory for system design is presented based on axiomatic design. The theory is applicable to many different kinds of systems, including machines, large systems, software systems, organizations, and systems consisting of a combination of hardware and software. Systems are represented by means of a system architecture, which takes the form of the {FR}/{DP}/{PV}hierarchies, a ‘junction-module’ diagram, and the ‘flow diagram’. The ‘flow diagram’ for system architecture concisely represents the system design, the relationship among modules, and the control sequence in operating systems. The flow diagram of the system architecture can be used for many different tasks: design, construction, operation, modification, and maintenance of the system. It should also be useful for distributed design and operation of systems, diagnosis of system failures, and for archival documentation.

Key words: Architecture; Axioms; Independence; Information; Design; Systems; Theory

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nam P. Suh
    • 1
  1. 1.The Ralph E. & Eloise F. Cross Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USAUS