Computer construction of experimental plans
Experimental plans identify the treatment allocated to each unit and they are necessary for the supervision of most comparative experiments. Few computer programs have been written for constructing experimental plans but many for analysing data arising from designed experiments. In this thesis the construction of experimental plans is reviewed so as to determine requirements for a computer program. One program, DSIGNX, is described. Four main steps in the construction are identified: declaration, formation of the unrandomized plan (the design), randomization and output. The formation of the design is given most attention. The designs considered are those found to be important in agricultural experimentation and a basic objective is set that the 'proposed' program should construct most designs presented in standard texts (e.g. Cochran and Cox (1957)) together with important designs which have been developed recently. Topics discussed include block designs, factorial designs, orthogonal Latin squares and designs for experiments with non-independent observations. Some topics are discussed in extra detail; these include forming standard designs and selecting defining contrasts in symmetric factorial experiments, general procedures for orthogonal Latin squares and constructing serially balanced designs. Emphasis is placed on design generators, especially the design key and generalized cyclic generators, because of their versatility. These generators are shown to provide solutions to most balanced and partially balanced incomplete block designs and to provide efficient block designs and row and column designs. They are seen to be of fundamental importance in constructing factorial designs. Other versatile generators are described but no attempt is made to include all construction techniques. Methods for deriving one design from another or for combining two or more designs are shown to extend the usefulness of the generators. Optimal design procedures and the evaluation of designs are briefly discussed. Methods of randomization are described including automatic procedures based on defined block structures and some forms of restricted randomization for the levels of specified factors. Many procedures presented in the thesis have been included in a computer program DSIGNX. The facilities provided by the program and the language are described and illustrated by practical examples. Finally, the structure of the program and its method of working are described and simplified versions of the principal algorithms presented.