On Irrationality in Engineering Design

[+] Author and Article Information
G. A. Hazelrigg

National Science Foundation Arlington, VA

J. Mech. Des 119(2), 194-196 (Jun 01, 1997) (3 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2826235 History: Received November 01, 1995; Online December 11, 2007


It is well recognized that virtually all engineering design is suboptimal. The consequence of suboptimal design is that the design can be improved against the desired objective measure, with the result that it fails to provide full potential benefit and it opens the door to competition. In this paper, we define the concept of irrationality in design. Irrationality is a source of suboptimal design that can be addressed through proper project management. It occurs when design engineers make design decisions against different objective measures, with the result that the end design can be suboptimal with respect to all conceivable objective measures of a specified class.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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