The goal of this research area is to develop new formalisms for design processes. The solution must be descriptive, not prescriptive. It must also be as logically rigorous as possible. A family of logics known as action logics can be used to reach this goal. There is much information available in the literature and in industry that could be used to develop such a theory. In order to gather and organise all that information, a three-phase method is proposed, including best practices, pattern language, and problem-solving methods.
Given a presumed theory for product models (such as AIMD), one may then consider formalisms for design processes themselves. Such theories would provide a logical structure for representing and reasoning about the tasks, actions, and other processes that constitute designing.
The process used to design a product affects the “design goodness” (see product centred modelling) of a product. Good products are designed using good processes. Although a good process is not sufficient for the development of a good product, it is necessary.
There is much information available in the literature and from industry on the structure and kinds of tasks used during designing. However, this information is scattered and disorganised. In order to gather and organise the information properly, a three-phase method is proposed:
Each phase represents an increased level of formal rigor. Once proper PSMs for design are constructed, they will be formalised with an action logic.
These phases also reflect a movement from highly industrial/practical (best practices) to highly academic/theoretic (PSMs). This means that theoretical results can be propagated back into industrial settings by reversing the development process suggested here.
This effort includes two simultaneous tasks:
Each of the three phases affects these research tasks.
Another result of this research, once completed, is that there will exist a draft Body of Knowledge for design engineering.
ATTENTION TODO Lots more to add; right now it's in a Circa notebook.