An `AI in Design' View of Design


In this paper we have attempted:

  • to introduce a small, representative sample from the literature in AI in Design;
  • to present a perspective of design based on that literature; and
  • to provide a set of questions that can be used to analyse and categorize computational research into design.

This sample of papers has been shaped by a particular knowledge-based systems view of what issues are important in AI in Design research, as well as by the ongoing research at WPI. There were many other papers that we could have included. Other people may have selected other papers and other organizations. An alternative collection of papers can be found in Tong & Sriram's three volume collection of readings [Tong & Sriram 1992]. Pointers to additional material can be found in [Brown 1992].

For another view of the field, and a different emphasis, see the Proceedings of the 1996 AI in Design conference [Gero & Sudweeks 1996], or the IEEE Expert special issue on AI in Design [Brown & Birmingham 1997].

We believe that the question-based approach presented here can be used to analyse, compare, and categorize design systems. While in practice using this approach is difficult and even tedious, the understanding gained repays the effort. In addition, challenging students to produce a set of questions of their own is a useful pedagogical exercise.

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