Customised viewpoint support for utilising experiential knowledge in design
This research aims to improve the effective utilisation of experiential design knowledge by supporting the extraction and subsequent use of knowledge from a store of design experiences. Current computational approaches that support the utilisation of experiential knowledge promote the regurgitation of knowledge from pre-defined viewpoints reflecting knowledge engineers' perspectives of designers' knowledge needs. However, from an investigation into the application of experiential knowledge, it is argued that designers can generate numerous viewpoints according to their own particular perspectives. Consequently, the perspectives imposed by current approaches may be of little use in design if they do not map onto those needed by a designer. A new approach, called 'customised viewpoint', is presented in this thesis as one that promotes the application of more relevant knowledge by generating appropriate viewpoints according to designers' perspectives. Numerical design is pre sented as a well-defined problem area within which this approach is developed, tested and evaluated. The PERSPECT system is the realisation of a 'customised viewpoint' tool developed by integrating and extending the functionality of three relevant existing systems: DESIGNER (a numerical design system), S-PLUS (an extensive data analysis package), and ECOBWEB (a concept formation system). PERSPECT provides valuable assistance; it supports a designer to (a) render new numerical domain models or check and update existing ones in the light of new design experiences, and (b) develop a design solution by (i) supporting the opportunistic utilisation of empirical equations and generalisations from generated customised viewpoints and (ii) reducing design complexity via the abstraction of an existing domain model. However, further work is required to improve PERSPECT's ability to support numerical design. The 'customised viewpoint' approach has been shown to compliment the CAD philosophy of "design assistance" but extensive work is still required to realise an ideal 'customised viewpoint' tool that fully supports the needs of practising designers.