Ph.D. Thesis Defense by Matthew C. Marston
Friday, July 28, 2000

(Dr. Farrokh Mistree, advisor)

"Game Based Design: A Game Theory Based Approach to Engineering Design"

Abstract

Much like the field of physics in the late 1890’s, engineering design has no unifying theory or methodology that is uniformly accepted.  Thus a persistent myth exists that engineering design is largely a non-scientific process whereby a ‘good’ designer is characterized as one who possesses the elusive qualities of creativity and good decision making skills.  In this research, this notion is formally challenged by showing an implementation of engineering design that has both a mathematical framework and a rigorous methodology in the mathematics of decision and game theory.

Formally, in this research Decision-Based Design is extended to the case of more than one designer acting as decision makers.  This extension is named Game Based Design (GBD) after its mathematical heritage in game theory.  In particular, decision theory, noncooperative and cooperative game theory, statistical metamodeling techniques, and probability theory are synthesized into a single computational model of a design process; the conditions under which the model is valid and application of the model to design examples of a pressure vessel, a power cable, and a product family are then given.  Particular attention is paid to the mathematical formulations in Game Based Design and herein lies the major contributions to engineering design in this research.