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Set-Based Design for Early System Design Tradespace Exploration

Professor Ed Phol
SEC 105

System Engineers perform Tradespace Exploration (TSE) in early system design to help identify affordable system concepts that have the potential to meet stakeholder requirements. For complex systems, TSE is challenging due to uncertainties about the future mission(s), environments, threats, technologies, and requirements. Typically, systems engineers have identified and evaluated “promising” point based designs that they believe span the system concept and design space. Selecting the “best” point design has led to cost growth, schedule slips, and sometimes program cancellation as the uncertainties are resolved. We consider an alternative, called Set-Based Design, which seeks to identify the most promising sets to continue into design and eliminates sets as information becomes available to reduce the uncertainties. This presentation uses Probability Management© with an integrated trade-off analytics framework with Model-Based Engineering to explore 100,000 potential system design concepts and architectures in near real-time. We demonstrate TSE with SBD with an Army Unmanned Aerial Vehicle case study to identify design sets, assess design feasibility, evaluate concepts (for both value and cost), and assess requirements by displaying sets with common design choices. TSE with SBD can inform future systems requirements and help systems decision makers select the most promising sets for development.


Edward Pohl is a Professor and Head of the Industrial Engineering Department, and holder of the 21st Century Professorship at the University of Arkansas. He has participated and led, risk, reliability, supply chain and systems engineering related research efforts at the University of Arkansas. Before coming to Arkansas, Ed spent twenty-one years in the United States Air Force where he served in a variety of engineering, operations analysis and academic positions during his career. Ed received his Ph.D. in Systems and Industrial Engineering from the University of Arizona. He holds a M.S. in Systems Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and M.S. in Reliability Engineering from the University of Arizona, an M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Dayton, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Boston University. Ed is the Co-Editor of the Journal of Engineering Management, an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transaction on Reliability, the Journal of Risk and Reliability, Journal of Quality Technology and Quantitative Management, and the Journal of Military Operations Research, on the Editorial Board of the IEEE Transaction on Technology and Engineering Management, and Systems. Ed is a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), a Fellow of the Society of Reliability Engineers (SRE), a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Management (ASEM), a Senior Member of IEEE and ASQ, a member of INCOSE, INFORMS, ASEE and MORS.