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Application of context knowledge in supporting conceptual design decision making

Rehman, Fayyaz U. and Yan, Xiu-Tian (2010) Application of context knowledge in supporting conceptual design decision making. International Journal of Product Development, 13 (1). pp. 47-66. ISSN 1477-9056

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Abstract

Conceptual design is the most important phase of the product life cycle as the decisions taken at conceptual design stage affect the downstream phases (manufacture, assembly, use, maintenance, and disposal) in terms of cost, quality and function performed by the product. This research takes a holistic view by incorporating the knowledge related to the whole context (from the viewpoint of product, user, product's life cycle and environment in which the product operates) of a design problem for the consideration of the designer to make an informed decision making at the conceptual design stage. The design context knowledge comprising knowledge from these different viewpoints is formalised and a new model and corresponding computational framework is proposed to support conceptual design decision making using this formalised context knowledge. Using a case study, this paper shows the proof of the concept by selecting one concept among different design alternatives using design context knowledge thereby proactively supporting conceptual design decision making for an informed and effective decision making.