The Design of Open Engineering Systems Lab

University at Buffalo - The State University of New York

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Using Network Theory to Model Distributed Design Systems

Research Area: Research Publication Year: 2010
Type of Publication: Technical Report
Authors: Devendorf, Erich; Devendorf, Margaret; Lewis, Kemper
In this paper a network based model for distributed design is presented. In distributed design systems, the transient response is a related to the connections between designers. There are two types of designer connections. The first are intrinsic connections which are established when a single design subsystem controls a design variable that is present in one or more other subsystem’s objective function. The second are structural connections which depend on the intrinsic connections and the solution process architecture. Previous research in distributed design has limited its examination to intrinsic connections. Through the application of social network theory, a new model for distributed design is proposed. A case study is presented that demonstrates the construction of this social network model. The model is then analyzed using network theory concepts like ‘distance,’ ‘bridging,’ and ‘degree centrality’ to identify preferable solution process architectures.
Multidisciplinary Analysis Optimization Conference