Hybrid procedure-based design strategies augmented with optimization

Madhav Arora, Siyao Luan, Deborah L. Thurston, James T. Allison

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Procedure-based design is well-established, supporting engineers via expert knowledge codified in resources such as handbooks, tables, and heuristic if-then rules of thumb. These procedures enable even inexperienced designers to benefit from the knowledge obtained by more experienced counterparts through years of practice and discovery. While procedural approaches have many advantages, they do have limitations. They tend to produce only satisficing, rather than optimal, solutions. In addition, they are based on historical designs, so offer little assistance for new system types, and are often descriptive rather than normative in nature. In contrast, normative methodssuch as constrained optimization-can resolve many of these issues, but at the cost of significant development effort. Here we present a synergistic hybrid strategy with the objective of capitalizing on established procedure-based design methods for a subset of design problem elements, while incorporating normative strategies for the remaining elements. A design procedure is analyzed to identify steps that involve specification of design variables, and a subset of rule-based steps that could be replaced with optimization algorithms. A single-stage spur gear train design example is used to illustrate this process, and for comparing alternative hybrid solution strategies. Initial results indicate that solution quality can be improved significantly over purely procedurebased design when incorporating limited optimization elements, while maintaining a reasonable level of additional modeling effort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication43rd Design Automation Conference
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791858127
StatePublished - 2017
EventASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2017 - Cleveland, United States
Duration: Aug 6 2017Aug 9 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference


OtherASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Modeling and Simulation


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