Dominic: A Domain-Independent Program for Mechanical Engineering Design
Dominic is a program that implements a domain-independent structure for solving mechanical engineering design problems. Given a problem, Dominic constructs an initial design and iteratively improves it using knowledge about the dependent relationship between the design goals and the design variables. In this paper, we describe Dominic’s architecture, and demonstrate and analyze its performance on two classes of problems.
Dominic designs by a cycle of evaluation and redesign. Its input is a set of problem parameters describing physical constraints on the design, a set of performance goals, and an initial design procedure. Dominic evaluates the initial design and identifies its weaknesses. The program then selects a design variable, proposes a change in the variable, assesses the overall effect of the change, and implements it if the effect is positive. The evaluate-and-redesign cycle continues until the design is judged acceptable.
Dominic has been tested in two domains: design of standard v-belt drive systems and design of aluminum extruded heat sinks.
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