Thesis Project - Thoughts
A system that collects ordering knowledge could be used for the following:
Most methods used to obtain the sequencing within a design plan are direct. Indirect methods should also be used to obtain this knowledge for the following reasons:
Implicit knowledge could be implicit for a number of reasons. It could be that the designer has been performing a design for so long that certain actions are automatic. Or the designer may not realize what actions/steps are considered important and might omit them when asked directly.
Alternate orders may not be expressed directly because the designer had one particular way they approached the design (either taught or discovered) and never had the need to explore other options. There may be steps that could be done in parallel if automated or done by multiple people that a single designer would not notice because they do not help a single designer solve the problem.
KE of Steps and Sequencing
The focus of the thesis is on obtaining the sequencing. There are difficulties, however, with separating collection of steps and sequencing. Steps have to be obtained first, somehow. It is also possible that when putting things into sequence that the expert may realize that steps are missing (or maybe not needed).
Depending on the complexity of the design task, steps can come at multiple levels. Ordering can also take place at multiple levels.
Figure 1 Design Sub-Task Levels
One way of obtaining the ordering would be to create the tree shown above and then list the steps in the order they appear at the lowest level. This would not allow for orderings that interleave steps from different subproblems. For example, at level 1, step 2 needs to be completed before step 3 can be performed. But if step 2 and 3 are broken into subproblems, it might be possible to start doing some of the step 3 subproblems before step 2 is completed.
This implies that in order to obtain all possible orderings, all design subtasks must be broken into their lowest level tasks. This could involve having to order large numbers of items. It may be necessary to commit to an ordering at a higher level in order to simplify the ordering problem.
Process Proposed in this Thesis
The hierarchy of design subtasks could be obtained by repeating the narrative and design step elicitation phases in a top-down fashion until the lowest level tasks are obtained. One difficulty is how to determine when the bottom is reached. This could be done by providing examples as part of the design problem description. Another interesting approach to this problem would be to allow the SMEs to guide the decomposition. For example, they could create an initial list of steps and then choose which steps to decompose further. The risks of this approach is that parts of the hierarchy might be missed. The advantage is that the expert can choose if they prefer a depth-first or breadth-first approach.
Figure 2. Knowledge Elicitation Process
Figure 3. DOES - Design Ordering Elicitation System
There are several problems with implementing the above approach:
Things to Look At
The initial hypothesis is that design ordering involves implicit knowledge. Therefore, it would be interesting to use DOES to verify this. The proposed approach uses both direct and indirect methods to obtain ordering. It would be interesting to see: