Temporal Evolution of Design Principles in Engineering Systems: Analogies with Human Evolution

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Optimization of an engineering system or component makes a series of changes in the initial random solution(s) iteratively to form the final optimal shape. When multiple conflicting objectives are considered, recent studies on innovization revealed the fact that the set of Pareto-optimal solutions portray certain common design principles. In this paper, we consider a 14-variable bi-objective design optimization of a MEMS device and identify a number of such common design principles through a recently proposed automated innovization procedure. Although these design principles are found to exist among near-Pareto-optimal solutions, the main crux of this paper lies in a demonstration of temporal evolution of these principles during the course of optimization. The results reveal that certain important design principles start to evolve early on, whereas some detailed design principles get constructed later during optimization. Interestingly, there exists a simile between evolution of design principles with that of human evolution. Such information about the hierarchy of key design principles should enable designers to have a deeper understanding of their problems.