Research Papers

Ontology-Based Representation of Design Decision Hierarchies

[+] Author and Article Information
Zhenjun Ming, Yan Yan

School of Mechanical Engineering,
Beijing Institute of Technology,
No. 5 Zhongguancun South Street,
Haidian District,
Beijing 100081, China

Guoxin Wang

School of Mechanical Engineering,
Beijing Institute of Technology,
No. 5 Zhongguancun South Street,
Haidian District,
Beijing 100081, China
e-mail: wangguoxin@bit.edu.cn

Jitesh H. Panchal

School of Mechanical Engineering,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907

Chung Hyun Goh

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Texas at Tyler,
Tyler, TX 75799

Janet K. Allen

School of Industrial and Systems Engineering,
University of Oklahoma,
Norman, OK 73019

Farrokh Mistree

School of Aerospace and Mechanical
University of Oklahoma,
Norman, OK 73019

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Computers and Information Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SCIENCE IN ENGINEERING. Manuscript received August 11, 2016; final manuscript received August 29, 2017; published online November 13, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Yan Wang.

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 18(1), 011001 (Nov 13, 2017) (12 pages) Paper No: JCISE-16-2042; doi: 10.1115/1.4037934 History: Received August 11, 2016; Revised August 29, 2017

The design of complex engineering systems requires that the problem is decomposed into subproblems of manageable size. From the perspective of decision-based design (DBD), typically this results in a set of hierarchical decisions. It is critically important for computational frameworks for engineering system design to be able to capture and document this hierarchical decision-making knowledge for reuse. Ontology is a formal knowledge modeling scheme that provides a means to structure engineering knowledge in a retrievable, computer-interpretable, and reusable manner. In our earlier work, we have created ontologies to represent individual design decisions (selection and compromise). Here, we extend the selection and compromise decision ontologies to an ontology for hierarchical decisions. This can be used to represent workflows with multiple decisions coupling together. The core of the proposed ontology includes the coupled decision support problem (DSP) construct, and two key classes, namely, Process that represents the basic hierarchy building blocks wherein the DSPs are embedded, and Interface to represent the DSP information flows that link different Processes to a hierarchy. The efficacy of the ontology is demonstrated using a portal frame design example. Advantages of this ontology are that it is decomposable and flexible enough to accommodate the dynamic evolution of a process along the design timeline.

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Fig. 1

Hierarchical decision-making in design [33]

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Fig. 2

A general four-level hierarchical system [5]

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Fig. 3

Concept of Class Process

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Fig. 4

Concept of Class Interface

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Fig. 5

User interfaces of the DSP hierarchy ontology

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Fig. 6

Design of a portal frame [5]

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Fig. 7

Specification of the comprehensive model

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Fig. 8

Query results by SQWRL

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Fig. 9

Specification of the model with no interaction included

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Fig. 10

Specification of the model with only lateral interactions included



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