A Theory of Computer-Aided Design: A Possible Approach

  • John Lansdown


It is a truism to say that there is nothing so practical as a good theory. A relevant theory underpins and supports practice, giving it the sort of foundation that is lacking in more ad hoc working. It has a unifying effect to guide practitioners through the long dark nights of misunderstanding and doubt. Above all, a good theory suggests practical techniques and developments that might not otherwise have been devised. Computeraided design (CAD) is an essentially practical subject in which theoretical discussion has largely been ignored and, to an extent, this has meant that the subject is strong on technique but weak on rationale. In this paper I tentatively suggest a theory which might have some application: that it is possible to see all designing (not just CAD) in terms of a particular model which I call prototype modification and that, in doing this, a new way of approaching CAD might result.


Catastrophe Theory Shape Grammar Cusp Catastrophe Knowledge Elicitation Dark Night 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

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  • John Lansdown

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