The Workshop was Successfully Held at ASME IDETC/CIE 2017

We organized a workshop titled “Lab Experiments on Individual and Interactive Decision Making in Design” on the ASME IDETC/CIE 2017  on August 5th at Cleveland, OH. The workshop was collaboratively organized with Dr. Jitesh Panchal, Dr. Ilias Bilionis and Dr. Karthik Kanna from Purdue University. Dr. Sha presented three different lab experiments in support of understanding the designers’ behaviors under competition and their decisions-making strategies about information acquisition in engineering systems design. The papers related to research presented in this workshop can be found here and here.

Dr. Sha is Awarded the Best Dissertation of the Year by ASME

Dr. Zhenghui Sha, is selected as the awardee of the prestigious American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 2017 Best Ph.D. Dissertation of the Year Award for his dissertation entitled “Decision-Centric Foundations for Complex Systems Engineering and Design“.  His PhD is advised by Dr. Jitesh H. Panchal from Purdue University.

The ASME Computers and Information in Engineering (CIE) Division has presented the award in recognition of “a promising young investigator who authored the best Ph.D thesis of the year in the area of computers and information in engineering“. To ensure that it is presented to appropriately qualified recipients and to maintain the prestigious nature of the award it may not be presented every year. The award is presented on the ASME IDETC/CIE 2017.

Dr. Sha (left), is presented the ASME CIE Best Ph.D. Dissertation of the Year Award by the nominator Dr. Jitesh Panchal (right) on the ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (Photo courtesy to ASME CIE)

Welcome New SiDi Lab Members

Welcome the new SiDi members, Kaleb Porter, Chandler Bair, and Laxmi Poudle! Kaleb and Chandler are Junior students in the MEEG department and they join SiDi as summer research interns. Laxmi will join SiDi in the Fall as a PhD student. He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2015 with BS degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Paper Accepted by the Journal of Mechanical Design, ASME Transaction

Our paper titled “Understanding Design Decisions under Competition using Games with Information Acquisition and a Function Optimization Experiment” is accepted by the Journal of Mechanical Design (JMD), ASME Transaction. The paper will be soon available at JMD website.

Abstract:  The primary motivation in this paper is to understand decision-making in design under competition from both prescriptive and descriptive perspectives. Engineering design is often carried out under competition from other designers or firms, where each competitor invests effort with the hope of getting a contract, attracting customers, or winning a prize. One such scenario of design under competition is crowdsourcing where designers compete for monetary prizes. Within existing literature, such competitive scenarios have been studied using models from contest theory, which are based on assumptions of rationality and equilibrium. Although these models are general enough for different types of contests, they do not address the unique characteristics of design decision-making, e.g., strategies related to the design process, the sequential nature of design decisions, the evolution of strategies, and heterogeneity among designers. In this paper, we address these gaps by developing an analytical model for design under competition, and using it in conjunction with a behavioral experiment to gain insights about how individuals actually make decisions in such scenarios. The contributions of the paper are two fold. First, a game-theoretic model is presented for sequential design decisions considering the decisions made by other players. Second, an approach for synergistic integration of analytical models with data from behavioral experiments is presented. The proposed approach provides insights such as shift in participants’ strategies from exploration to exploitation as they acquire more information, and how they develop beliefs about the quality of their opponents’ solutions.


Awarded ERISF Grant

We are awarded the Engineering Research and Innovation Seed Funding (ERISF) by the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas (UA). As introduced on the program website, “The overarching goal of the ERISF program is to assist engineering researchers in developing new innovative research programs that have strong potential for significant future support from government agencies, corporations, industry, consortia, or foundations.

In this interdisciplinary research project, we aim to understand engineering design thinking in complex systems design. In particular, we are interested in quantitatively characterizing and computationally modeling designers’ thinking in three aspects: the divergent-convergent reasoning, the system thinking and the sequential decision-making in engineering design. The accomplishment of this project will lay the foundation for our future study towards realizing artificial intelligence assisted design (AIAD). This project will be carried out through a collaborative effort with  Dr. Michael Gashler from the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering at the UA, and Dr. Charles Xie from Concord Consortium. See more introduction on our Research Project page.