Modeling and information in the design process Conference Paper uri icon


  • This paper examines how models and information are used in engineering, and especially in the engineering design process. Model use and information content are both important and strongly coupled, if only because models are used to develop information upon which basis engineering decisions are made and outcomes achieved. Classical decision theory suggests that the quality of a decision-making process is independent of the outcome, and yet models are used to obtain the best information possible in order to achieve the best outcome. This paper considers definitions of models, the implications of the information content of engineering models, and the role(s) models play in design decision making. It is suggested that a taxonomy of design models may be useful to the extent that it connects to both the type and quality of information it imparts, and to the quality of the outcome desired. The type of model is important for self-evident reasons; the quality of information is also important because design models must be predictive in ways that enable design. The quality of the outcome is important since that is the underlying point of a design process.

author list (cited authors)

  • McAdams, D. A., & Dym, C. L.

publication date

  • December 2004