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Abstraction Hierarchies for Engineering Design

Authors: Esra E. Aleisa, Li Lin


Complex engineering design problems consist of numerous factors of varying criticalities. Considering fundamental features of design and inferior details alike will result in an extensive waste of time and effort. Design parameters should be introduced gradually as appropriate based on their significance relevant to the problem context. This motivates the representation of design parameters at multiple levels of an abstraction hierarchy. However, developing abstraction hierarchies is an area that is not well understood. Our research proposes a novel hierarchical abstraction methodology to plan effective engineering designs and processes. It provides a theoretically sound foundation to represent, abstract and stratify engineering design parameters and tasks according to causality and criticality. The methodology creates abstraction hierarchies in a recursive and bottom-up approach that guarantees no backtracking across any of the abstraction levels. The methodology consists of three main phases, representation, abstraction, and layering to multiple hierarchical levels. The effectiveness of the developed methodology is demonstrated by a design problem.

Keywords: Engineering design, Abstraction, Hierarchies, Loop-free

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