A Hybrid Sensitivity Analysis for Use in Early Design Academic Article uri icon


  • Sensitivity analyses are frequently used during the design of engineering systems to qualify and quantify the effect of parametric variation in the performance of a system. Two primary types of sensitivity analyses are generally used: local and global. Local analyses, generally involving derivative-based measures, have a significantly lower computational burden than global analyses but only provide measures of sensitivity around a nominal point. Global analyses, generally performed with a Monte Carlo sampling approach, and variation-based measures provide a complete description of sensitivity but incur a large computational burden and require information regarding the distributions of the design parameters in a concept. Local analyses are generally suited to the early stages of design when parametric information is limited, and a large number of concepts must be evaluated (necessitating a light computational burden). Global analyses are more suited to the later stages of design when more information about parametric distributions is available and fewer concepts are under consideration. Current derivative-based local approaches provide a different and incompatible set of measures than a global variation-based analysis. This makes a direct comparison of local to global measures ill posed. To reconcile local and global sensitivity analyses, a hybrid local variation-based sensitivity (HyVar) approach is presented. This approach has a similar computational burden to a local approach but produces measures or percentage contributions. The HyVar approach is directly comparable to global variation-based approaches. In this paper, the HyVar sensitivity analysis method is developed in the context of a functional based behavioral modeling framework. An example application of the method is presented along with a summary of results produced from a more comprehensive example. © 2010 American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

author list (cited authors)

  • Hutcheson, R. S., & McAdams, D. A.

citation count

  • 11

publication date

  • November 2010