Three Tools of Conceptual Engineering

  • David E. Goldberg
Part of the Genetic Algorithms and Evolutionary Computation book series (GENA, volume 7)


The previous chapter argued for a tripartite method of invention or design for genetic algorithms and other innovating machines. The argument was made at a fairly high level, however, invoking some aviation history as empirical evidence, an economy of modeling as rational theory, and a combination of philosophy and history to unmask a cultural bias that resists the adoption of effective design technique. Although these efforts were important to laying the intellectual foundations for what follows, abstract discourse does not show us the way to GAs that work. Here, we examine three tools of the conceptual engineering trade:
  1. 1.

    design decomposition

  2. 2.

    little models

  3. 3.

    patchquilt integration using dimensional analysis

in somewhat more detail with an eye toward application. Where it is advantageous, examples of technique in the realm of material machines will be given followed by a “conceptual machine” example drawn from the design of selectorecombinative genetic algorithms.


Friction Factor Material Machine Analogous Transfer Innovation Time Conceptual Engineer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • David E. Goldberg
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUSA

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