Design as a sequential decision process: A method for reducing design set space using models to bound objectives

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Design can be viewed a sequential decision process that increases the detail of modeling and analysis while simultaneously decreasing the space of alternatives considered. In a decision theoretic framework, low-fidelity models help decision-makers identify regions of feasibility and interest in the tradespace and cull others prior to constructing more computationally expensive models of higher fidelity. The method presented herein demonstrates design as a sequence of finite decision epochs through a search space defined by the extent of the set of designs under consideration, and the level of analytic fidelity subjected to each design. Previous work has shown that multi-fidelity modeling can aid in rapid optimization of the design space when high-fidelity models are coupled with low-fidelity models. This paper offers two contributions to the design community: (1) a model of design as a sequential decision process of refinement using progressively more accurate and expensive models, and (2) a connected approach for how conceptual models couple with detailed models. Formal definitions of the process are provided, and several structural design examples are presented to demonstrate the use of sequential multi-fidelity modeling in determining an optimal modeling selection policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-324
Number of pages20
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Control and Optimization


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