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Research project: DECODE: Decision Environments for Complex Designs

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DECODE is an EPSRC funded project looking at Decision Environments for Complex Design.  We construct advanced design tools and use them to design, build and fly sub-20kg state-of-the-art unmanned air vehicles with full autonomous control systems and on-board cameras.

Modern design organisations are fundamentally information-processing structures.  The efficiency of this information processing function depends upon organisational sophistication, embracing not just people but tools, processes, knowledge and data.  DECODE addresses the design and integration of complex systems such where the problems of cost overruns, delays and performance shortfalls are particularly acute.  The current value of an aerospace prime contract is now typically measured in billions of pounds, yet surprisingly many companies still use relatively traditional, ad-hoc and organic processes and design tools within their programmes.

The research undertaken here will investigate design decision making tools that provide holistic optimisation at a system level to maximise satisfaction of all the stakeholders associated with the system.  Uniquely, DECODE will provide active design exploration of systems level trade-offs between performance, unit cost and system life-cycle costs based on a "design mission control capability".

To do this an innovative design decision support environment that focuses on value metrics is being built.  This will allow a value-driven "mission control capability" for design decision making to be researched.  It will integrate early concept design exploration with full resolution, geometry backed design computations and detailed manufacturing and operations models.

Questions being addressed include:

  • the future role of human decision making in product development?
  • the shape, size and structure of the future design organisation?
  • how can global priorities be identified and deployed?
  • what management reporting and metrics and relevant?
  • trust: how can decision makers understand the provenance and reliability of computational analysis and knowledge?
  • uncertainty: how best to present the effect of and efficiently compute stochastic input values?
  • how is the emerging design space best displayed and monitored?


Related research groups

Computational Engineering and Design
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