A computational framework for authoring and searching product design specifications

TitleA computational framework for authoring and searching product design specifications
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsWeissman A, Petrov M, Gupta SK
JournalAdvanced Engineering Informatics
Pagination516 - 534
Date Published2011/08//
ISBN Number1474-0346
KeywordsEngineering design, Product design specifications, Requirements engineering

The development of product design specifications (PDS) is an important part of the product development process. Incompleteness, ambiguity, or inconsistency in the PDS can lead to problems during the design process and may require unnecessary design iterations. This generally results in increased design time and cost. Currently, in many organizations, PDS are written using word processors. Since documents written by different authors can be inconsistent in style and word choice, it is difficult to automatically search for specific requirements. Moreover, this approach does not allow the possibility of automated design verification and validation against the design requirements and specifications.In this paper, we present a computational framework and a software tool based on this framework for writing, annotating, and searching computer-interpretable PDS. Our approach allows authors to write requirement statements in natural language to be consistent with the existing authoring practice. However, using mathematical expressions, keywords from predefined taxonomies, and other metadata the author of PDS can then annotate different parts of the requirement statements. This approach provides unambiguous meaning to the information contained in PDS, and helps to eliminate mistakes later in the process when designers must interpret requirements. Our approach also enables users to construct a new PDS document from the results of the search for requirements of similar devices and in similar contexts. This capability speeds up the process of creating PDS and helps authors write more detailed documents by utilizing previous, well written PDS documents. Our approach also enables checking for internal inconsistencies in the requirement statements.