Proposal #1127609 Proposal #1127664

This proposal seeks funding for the Center for e-Design sites at the University of Massachusetts and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Funding Requests for Fundamental Research are authorized by an NSF approved solicitation, NSF 10-601. The solicitation invites I/UCRCs to submit proposals for support of industry-defined fundamental research.

The design process typically entails generation of numerous design alternatives followed by reduction of these by virtue of application of different criteria. Ongoing application of computing tools to create an entirely electronic process for e-design have been enabling but can have the effect of saturating the process with numerous alternatives. The proposed work seeks to bring together researchers in the psychological theory of innovation, computer science and human computer interaction to transform the innovative process of design from one which is ad hoc to a more systematic search through the space of features. The effort aims to implement the resulting strategies in a semantic framework leveraging the concepts from visual perception, cognition and human computer interfaces that will allow visualization on the part of the designer of the most promising features for each specific design case.

The proposed research has the potential to enable e-design tools to overcome current limitations and improve the process and outcomes of design while at the same time providing insights into the process of human innovation. Both, if successful, could significantly improve design efficiency resulting in cost savings and reduction of time to market. The work is supported by individual industry members of the center and has the potential to extend the portfolio of the center by virtue of the major innovation in e-design tools enabled by integration of cognitive principles. Both inside and outside the center, the impact on design education and execution has the potential for broad impact in the engineering community.

Project Report

The Center for e-Design creates and develops new design paradigms and electronic design tools that will assist in generating high quality products and systems at a reduced cost while also reducing the time associated with designing complex engineering products and systems. Center Mission and Rationale The mission of the Center for e-Design is to serve as a nationally recognized center of excellence in design where innovation and creativity are integrated with fundamental principles of science, mathematics, and engineering in the development, testing, and implementation of new methods and technologies for the design of products and systems focused on faster time-to-market, better product quality, and significantly reduced costs. The Center for e-Design focuses its efforts in three major areas to deliver value to its industry/government partners: 1. Fundamental Research focuses on creating methods, tools, and technologies to address industry relevant needs in e-tools-enabled product development and realization including: enabling information infrastructure; new design paradigms and processes; design optimization; visualizing and virtual prototyping. 2. Research Testbed focuses on integration of interdisciplinary research activities to validate developed tools, methods, and technologies. 3. Engineering Education and Technology Transfers, which focus on educating a new generation of engineers and scientists proficient in e-design and rapidly transferring results into usable applications for industry and government. The Center as a whole is alive and well. It is a collaboration of seven universities and currently 23 industry and government members. Current Center for e-Design information can be found at This specific project was supported under a fundamental research supplement (# 1 above) collaboration with U Mass Amherst. The major goal of the project was to develop and evaluate a graph visualization tool for e-Design ontologies and semantic networks as used in knowledge-based engineering and design. While ontologies are useful machine reasoniong, these complex systems and relationships are notoriously difficult for humans to analyze, understand and validate. Through software and usability engineering processes, we designed and developed a software test-bed (OSNAP) where researchers can interactively explore their networks as well as test the complex interplay between visual representation and comprehension. For example a designer or engineer might conduct a product analysis looking for simlar parts from other product families, or discover that some other part or entity could be substituted for lower cost or better performance, durability, etc. The OSNAP platform is compatible with WWW technologies and graphics standards (e.g. OWL, X3D), thus enabling a variety of experiments and applications to be implemented. We have evaluated the tool as applied to several knowledge bases ( the eDesign and BioPAX ontologies) and disseminated the results as an open-source Java codebase, accompanied by academic publications.The code is released under the Apache2 license: and the project website is: Further details can be found in the following publications on the project: Peter J. Radics, Nicholas F. Polys, Shawn P. Neuman, and William H. Lund. "OSNAP! Introducing the open semantic network analysis platform". Proceedings of Visualization and Data Analysis, IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging; 2015 (to appear). McCaffrey, T., Krishnamurty, S., Lin, X., 2013, Cahoots: A Software Platform for Enhancing Innovation and Facilitating Situation Transfer, Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2014) 145-163 McCaffrey, T. and S. Krishnamurty (2014): The Obscure Features Hypothesis in design innovation, International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation, DOI: 10.1080/21650349.2014.893840 er J. Radics, Nicholas F. Polys, Shawn P. Neuman, and William H. Lund. "OSNAP! Introducing the open semantic network analysis platform". Proceedings of Visualization and Data Analysis, IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging; 2015 (to appear). Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
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Lawrence A. Hornak
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