RESEARCH PAPERS: Design Theory and Methodology Papers

Quantitative Inference in a Mechanical Design ‘Compiler’

[+] Author and Article Information
A. C. Ward

Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

W. P. Seering

Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

J. Mech. Des 115(1), 29-35 (Mar 01, 1993) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2919320 History: Received September 01, 1988; Revised October 01, 1991; Online June 02, 2008


This paper presents the ideas underlying a computer program that takes as input a schematic of a mechanical or hydraulic power transmission system, plus specifications and a utility function, and returns catalog numbers from predefined catalogs for the optimal selection of components implementing the design. Unlike programs for designing single components or systems, this program provides the designer with a high level “language” in which to compose new designs. It then performs some of the detailed design process for him. The process of “compilation,” or transformation from a high to a low level description, is based on a formalization of quantitative inferences about hierarchically organized sets of artifacts and operating conditions. This allows design compilation without the exhaustive enumeration of alternatives. The paper introduces the formalism, illustrating its use with examples. It then outlines some differences from previous work, and summarizes early tests and conclusions.

Copyright © 1993 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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