Collaborative Research: Delegated Decision Making in Value-Driven Systems Engineering
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The research objective of this collaborative award is to delineate the benefits and limitations of value-driven decision authority delegation in large systems engineering projects as compared to the more traditional approach of delegating authority through a requirements flow-down process. A new and practical value-driven decision delegation approach will be defined based on the mathematical foundations of probability theory, decision theory, and game theory. Using rigorous mathematical analysis, the investigation will characterize this new approach and compare it to a requirements-driven approach. New methods will be derived (1) by which subsystem engineers can communicate their beliefs about technical capabilities to systems engineers and (2) by which systems engineers can incentivize subsystem engineers to seek designs that maximize system-level expected utility. The investigation will start by examining the case of a single subsystem and will culminate with the analysis of decision delegation in the general case of concurrent subsystem design.If successful, this research will have a significant impact on the development of large-scale complex engineered systems of interest to private industry, the government, and the public at large. An improved understanding of decision delegation will enable engineers to structure engineering projects in a more efficient and effective matter, resulting in better systems, at lower cost, and within less time. Furthermore, fundamental insights discovered in this research will provide direction to future computational and empirical studies. Finally, the discoveries made in this research will be incorporated into new systems engineering curricula, which will lead to a better-prepared next generation of systems engineers.