which these teams should work together is still being debated by managers andresearchers.The goal of these processes, whatever form they take, is to design what is, in some sense,the best airplane. To do this requires that we address three basic issues:1. What do we mean by best?2. How can we estimate the characteristics of designs so we can compare two designs in aquantitative way?3. How do we choose the design variables which yield an optimum?The first of these questions is perhaps the most important one, for if we don't know whatwe are trying to achieve, or if we select the wrong goal, it doesn't matter how good theanalysis method may be, nor how efficient is our optimization procedure. Nevertheless,this question is often not given sufficient attention in many optimization studies.
Defining the Objective
If we were to examine advertisements for aircraft it might seem that the definition of the best aircraft is very simple. Madison Ave. Aircraft Company sells the fastest, mostefficient, quietest, most inexpensive airplane with the shortest field length. Unfortunatelysuch an airplane cannot exist. As Professor Bryson puts it, "You can only make one thing best at a time." The most inexpensive airplane would surely not be the fastest; the mostefficient would not be the most comfortable. Similarly, the best aerodynamic design israther different from the best structural design, so that the best overall airplane is alwaysa compromise in some sense (see Fig 4.). The compromise can be made in a rational wayif the right measure of performance is used. Structural weight and lift to drag ratio, for example, become parts of a larger equation. The left hand side of this equation is termedthe figure of merit or objective and depends on the intended application for the aircraft.