The Design Decisions Laboratory develops tools and methods to understand and assist decision-making in the design process. Current thrust areas include

1.       systems optimization,

2.       design for market systems, and

3.       green design & environmental policy.


A current application focus is life cycle implications of advanced vehicles, including plug-in vehicles.

Systems Optimization


The design and optimization of complex systems pose unique challenges: Subsystems and components must be designed such that they are compatible and consistent with one another while delivering properties that, in combination, achieve targets for the overall system. DDL develops mathematical tools for decomposing complex design tasks into smaller subsystem design tasks and coordinating design of these subsystems to achieve optimal system solutions.


Sample Publications:

Khajavirad, A., J.J. Michalek (2009) “A determinstic Lagrangian-based global optimization approach for decomposable nonconvex mixed-integer problems,” ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, v131 051009 p1-8.

Khajavirad, A., J.J. Michalek and T.W. Simpson (2008) "An efficient decomposed multi-objective genetic algorithm for solving the joint product family selection and design problem with generalized commonality," Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, v39 p187-201.

Li, Y., Z. Lu and J.J. Michalek (2008) "Diagonal quadratic approximation for parallelization of analytical target cascading", ASME Journal of Mechanical Design v130 n5 p051402.


Design for Market Systems


Whether interested in profit or in social welfare, designers are concerned with the preferences people have and the choices they make. Design decisions are driven by the preferences of various stakeholders, and the decisions made by designers have impact on these stakeholders. DDL develops quantitative tools to model and predict consumer behavior and competitive firm behavior to guide product design decisions to perform well in the marketplace. 


Sample Publications:


Michalek, J.J., F.M. Feinberg, P. Ebbes, F. Adigüzel and P.Y. Papalambros (2011) "Enhancing marketing with engineering: optimal product line design for heterogeneous markets," International Journal of Research in Marketing, v28 p1-12.

Shiau, C.-S. and J.J. Michalek (2009) "Should designers worry about market systems?" ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, v131 011011 p1-9.


Michalek, J.J., F.M. Feinberg and P.Y. Papalambros (2005) "Linking marketing and engineering product design decisions via analytical target cascading," Journal of Product Innovation Management, v22 p42-62.


Green Design and Environmental Policy


Environmental regulations attempt to correct for market failures by altering incentive structures or restricting the space of options available to designers. Such regulations have direct impact on the decisions made by designers, and the success of any such policy depends upon the product designs that result under regulated market conditions. DDL builds models to understand and predict the effects of policy on the incentives that drive design decisions and the resulting impact on producers, users, society and the environment. 


Sample Publications:

Michalek, J.J., M. Chester, P. Jaramillo, C. Samaras, C.S. Shiau, and L. Lave (2011) “Valuation of plug-in vehicle life cycle air emissions and oil displacement benefits” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v108 n40 p16554-16558.

Shiau, C.-S., N. Kaushal, C.T. Hendrickson, S.B. Peterson. J.F. Whitacre and J.J. Michalek (2010) “Optimal plug-in hybrid electric vehicle design and allocation for minimum life cycle cost, petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions,” ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, Special Issue on Sustainability, v132 n9 p091013 1-11.


Shiau, C.-S., J.J. Michalek, and C.T. Hendrickson (2009) “A structural analysis of vehicle design responses to corporate average fuel economy policy,” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, v43 p814-828.


Information Systems for Sustainability


The lack of simple, reliable, convenient, and accessible information about the social and environmental impact of products and their producers results in consumers ignoring such attributes, leading to undervaluation in the marketplace and providing economic incentive for corporations to compromise social and environmental responsibility in pursuit of reduced cost and increased market share. DDL aims to provide consumers with quick and simple access to customizable information about the social and environmental characteristics of products and their producers on demand and at the point of purchase. 


Additional Information:


AWARE: A Step Toward Building a Sustainable Economy by Informing Consumer Purchasing Decisions at the Point of Sale (2005)


Architectural Design


Most Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools offer precision, but when a designer needs to quickly explore concept options and think through design alternatives they typically sketch with pencil and paper. DDL has used optimization in the early conceptual stage of design to help the designer to quickly generate and compare alternatives visually and computationally while interactively refining design goals and constraints and visually guiding search. This allows the designer to integrate subjective judgment and experience with the computational power of optimization algorithms to achieve maximum efficiency while considering aesthetic and usability issues that are difficult to quantify. 


Sample Publications:


Choudhary, R. and J. Michalek (2005) "Design optimization in computer aided architectural design," International Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Architectural Design Research In Asia, April 28-30, 2005, New Delhi, India.


Michalek, J.J., R. Choudhary and P.Y. Papalambros (2002) "Architectural layout design optimization," Engineering Optimization, v34 n5 p461-484.


Michalek, J.J. and P.Y. Papalambros (2002) "Interactive design optimization of architectural layouts," Engineering Optimization, v34 n5 p485-501.

Last Updated: January 12