The Design of Open Engineering Systems Lab

University at Buffalo - The State University of New York

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Characterization of the Transient Response of Coupled Optimization in Multidisciplinary Design

Research Area: Research Publication Year: 2013
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Devendorf, Erich; Lewis, Kemper
Journal: Mathematical Problems in Engineering Volume: 2013
Time is an asset of critical importance in a multidisciplinary design process and it is desirable to reduce the amount of time spent designing products and systems. Design is an iterative activity and designers consume a significant portion of the product development process negotiating a mutually acceptable solution. The amount of time necessary to complete a design depends on the number and duration of design iterations. This paper focuses on accurately characterizing the number of iterations required for designers to converge to an equilibrium solution in distributed design processes. In distributed design, systems are decomposed into smaller, coupled design problems where individual designers have control over local design decisions and seek to achieve their own individual objectives. These smaller coupled design optimization problems can be modeled using coupled games and the number of iterations required to reach equilibrium solutions varies based on initial conditions and process architecture. In this paper, we leverage concepts from game theory, classical controls, and discrete systems theory to evaluate and approximate process architectures without carrying out any solution iterations. As a result, we develop an analogy between discrete decisions and a continuous time representation that we analyze using control theoretic techniques.