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Theories, Models, Programs, and Tools of Design: Views from Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, and Human-Centered Computing

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An Anthology of Theories and Models of Design

Abstract

Our research on design adopts the perspectives of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and human-centered computing. Thus, it produces information-processing theories, computational models, computer programs, and interactive tools for aspects of design. In this chapter, we describe these perspectives and products. We also illustrate some of the methods and artifacts of our research through a case study of problem–solution coevolution in biologically inspired design. Starting with the Structure-Behavior-Function knowledge model as a seed, we develop a knowledge model of design problems called SR.BID that is grounded in empirical data about biologically inspired design practice. SR.BID captures problem descriptions as well as problem–solution relationships in biologically inspired design, and thus forms the basis for the development of new interactive tools for supporting its practice as well as new pedagogical techniques for learning about problem formulation.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the instructors and students of the ME/ISyE/MSE/PTFe/BIOL 4740 classes from 2006 through 2012, especially Professor Jeannette Yen, the main instructor and coordinator of the class. We are grateful also for the contributions of Marika Shahid, Swaroop Vattam, and Bryan Wiltgen. We thank the US National Science Foundation for its support of this research through an NSF CreativeIT Grant (0855916, Computational Tools for Enhancing Creativity in Biologically Inspired Engineering Design), and an NSF TUE Grant (1022778, Biologically !nspired Design: A Novel Interdisciplinary Biology-Engineering Curriculum.

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Appendix 1: Detailed Description of the SR.BID Knowledge Model

Appendix 1: Detailed Description of the SR.BID Knowledge Model

The following tables describe the ontology of the SR.BID knowledge model of design problems that emerged from analyzing problem statements in the Week 3 2010 and Week 8 2010 data sets. These tables refine the high-level ontology of concepts and relationships of Fig. 20.3.

Solution

Description

Primary type

 

Biological

The solution is a naturally occurring biological component, organism, or system

Man-made

The designers refer to a system which someone already built or created, or for which they generated prototypes or specifications

New design solution

The designers who are working on the problem are conjecturing a new design (or a design they think is new) to solve the problem

Secondary type

 

Sub-solution

A sub-solution consists of many parts that together perform a specific function within the context of a larger solution

Subtype

A subtype solution expresses a “kind-of” relationship with another solution

Function

Description

Primary type

 

Accomplishment

The default function type, accomplishment functions change the state of the world in an intended way

Preventative

Preventative functions keep a state OR another function from occurring

Maintenance

Functions that maintain a state are considered maintenance for example “the thermostat regulates temperature” is a maintenance function

Allow

Allow functions enable a state OR another function to occur

Negation

Negative functions are stated as NOT performing another function, for instance this application does not produce light

Secondary type

 

Sub-function, AND

When there are multiple sub-function relationships for a given function, AND-type relationships that specify that the related sub-functions must all be accomplished in order to achieve the parent function

Sub-function, OR

When there are multiple sub-function relationships for a given function, the OR-type relationship specifies that one of the functions must be accomplished to achieve the parent function

Operating environment

Description

Primary type

 

Location

The places in which the system is intended to operate

Condition-qualitative

Qualitative conditions under which the system is intended to operate

Condition-quantitative

High/low-end values, expected values, or ranges

Time

The time during which the system must operate for example, “at night.” Words like “when,” “after,” “while,” “as,” and “during” are often used to express a temporal environment

User

The phrase describes an intended user or class of users for the system

Entity

The phrase describes an entity, often biological but sometimes technological, that interacts with the system

System

The phrase describes another system within which the system is intended to work or connect

Constraints and specifications

Description

Primary type

 

Material

The material of which one or more components of the design will be composed

Information

Information can be in the form of energetic signals, bits and bytes, or may be encoded in the physical structure of a thing

Energy

Energy can be found throughout a system in many forms; the energy subtype is used when a specified form of energy is discussed within the confines of the system

Time

Includes timeframes not related to the operation of the design

Component

Includes descriptions of specific parts of a solution or design, or groups of parts

Property/value

Concerns the properties of the system as a whole or their values

Shape

Includes the shape of the components or of the design

Spatial orientation

These specify the spatial relationship or orientation between or among one or many components, systems, or subsystems

Structural relationship

Any phrase specifying which components are related by means of connecting joints and contacts points

Cost

Usually in monetary terms, but this could also be in terms of any resource of concern; absolute; or relative

Secondary type

 

Limiting

Limiting specifications/constraints are those which require a designer to use a smaller subset of design elements

Enabling

Enabling specifications/constraints offer new possibilities for design elements without enforcing their use

Existing

Existing specifications/constraints discuss the specific properties of an existing design

Performance criteria

Description

Primary type

 

Specific

States the specific value or range of the performance criteria

Relative

Uses comparative terms such are “quieter than solution X,” without explicitly stating the performance of the compared to solution

Actual

States the performance of an existing solution

Deficiency/Benefit

Description

Primary type

 

Deficiency

Deficiencies can relate to any element of an existing solution or proposed design, highlighting an unfavorable aspect of that element

Benefit

Benefits can relate to any element of an existing solution or proposed design, highlighting a favorable aspect of that element

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Goel, A.K., Helms, M.E. (2014). Theories, Models, Programs, and Tools of Design: Views from Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, and Human-Centered Computing. In: Chakrabarti, A., Blessing, L. (eds) An Anthology of Theories and Models of Design. Springer, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4471-6338-1_20

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