Dealing with the combinatorial explosion of the morphological matrix in a "manual engineering design" context
(2013) 25th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology  DETC/DTM'13 In Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology  DETC/DTM'13 5. p.005014 Abstract
 The morphological matrix is an important element of the engineering design methodology and is present in many textbooks. This method originally aimed at generating an exhaustive set of solutions for a given problem, by decomposing it into subproblems, finding solutions to each subproblem, and combining them. One issue associated with the morphological matrix has been the necessity to deal with the combinatorial explosions of solutions, especially at the conceptual design phase, when the still fuzzy nature of the design problem precludes the use of automated search for an optimal solution by means of specific algorithms (the "manual engineering design" context), apart from a few exceptions. Several heuristics based on the reduction of the... (More)
 The morphological matrix is an important element of the engineering design methodology and is present in many textbooks. This method originally aimed at generating an exhaustive set of solutions for a given problem, by decomposing it into subproblems, finding solutions to each subproblem, and combining them. One issue associated with the morphological matrix has been the necessity to deal with the combinatorial explosions of solutions, especially at the conceptual design phase, when the still fuzzy nature of the design problem precludes the use of automated search for an optimal solution by means of specific algorithms (the "manual engineering design" context), apart from a few exceptions. Several heuristics based on the reduction of the number of combinations are investigated, and their efficiency is assessed. It is showed that the oftenrecommended compatibility matrix heuristic is the least efficient and can result in overlooking potentially interesting combinations. In fact all heuristics, even combined, generally fail to decrease the number of combinations to a level that can be handled by the designers, unless the original number of combinations is low. However, if one abandons the principle of an exhaustive investigation of the combinations in order to find the "best" solution, it can be showed statistically that the probability of ending up with a "good" concept among a very large number of combinations can be attained. Moreover, it is showed that the number of combinations one is willing to investigate also can contribute to increase this probability. Moreover the experience gained from the first round of investigation can serve as a guide to choose and assess other combinations. Based on those results, some recommendations for using the morphological matrix with all the different heuristics are given. Moreover, this paper discusses and relativizes the importance of the combinatorial explosion issue of morphological matrix compared with some other advantages and shortcomings of the method. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
http://lup.lub.lu.se/record/1788964
 author
 Motte, Damien ^{LU} and Bjärnemo, Robert ^{LU}
 organization
 publishing date
 2013
 type
 Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
 publication status
 published
 subject
 keywords
 morphological matrix, engineering design, machine design, maskinkonstruktion
 in
 Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology  DETC/DTM'13
 volume
 5
 pages
 13 pages
 publisher
 American Society Of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
 conference name
 25th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology  DETC/DTM'13
 external identifiers

 wos:000362381000014
 scopus:84896958897
 ISBN
 9780791855928
 DOI
 10.1115/DETC201312040
 language
 English
 LU publication?
 yes
 id
 b246a8047cc940f1af3c00fb0f1c8eb9 (old id 1788964)
 date added to LUP
 20131024 11:34:08
 date last changed
 20170731 09:06:57
@inproceedings{b246a8047cc940f1af3c00fb0f1c8eb9, abstract = {The morphological matrix is an important element of the engineering design methodology and is present in many textbooks. This method originally aimed at generating an exhaustive set of solutions for a given problem, by decomposing it into subproblems, finding solutions to each subproblem, and combining them. One issue associated with the morphological matrix has been the necessity to deal with the combinatorial explosions of solutions, especially at the conceptual design phase, when the still fuzzy nature of the design problem precludes the use of automated search for an optimal solution by means of specific algorithms (the "manual engineering design" context), apart from a few exceptions. Several heuristics based on the reduction of the number of combinations are investigated, and their efficiency is assessed. It is showed that the oftenrecommended compatibility matrix heuristic is the least efficient and can result in overlooking potentially interesting combinations. In fact all heuristics, even combined, generally fail to decrease the number of combinations to a level that can be handled by the designers, unless the original number of combinations is low. However, if one abandons the principle of an exhaustive investigation of the combinations in order to find the "best" solution, it can be showed statistically that the probability of ending up with a "good" concept among a very large number of combinations can be attained. Moreover, it is showed that the number of combinations one is willing to investigate also can contribute to increase this probability. Moreover the experience gained from the first round of investigation can serve as a guide to choose and assess other combinations. Based on those results, some recommendations for using the morphological matrix with all the different heuristics are given. Moreover, this paper discusses and relativizes the importance of the combinatorial explosion issue of morphological matrix compared with some other advantages and shortcomings of the method.}, author = {Motte, Damien and Bjärnemo, Robert}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology  DETC/DTM'13}, isbn = {9780791855928}, keyword = {morphological matrix,engineering design,machine design,maskinkonstruktion}, language = {eng}, pages = {005014}, publisher = {American Society Of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)}, title = {Dealing with the combinatorial explosion of the morphological matrix in a "manual engineering design" context}, url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1115/DETC201312040}, volume = {5}, year = {2013}, }