THE SOCIETY OF NAVAL ARCHITECTS AND MARINE ENGINEERS601 Pavonia Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey 07306
Presented at the Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California, October31-November 3, 1990.
Decision-Based Design: A ContemporaryParadigm for Ship Design
Member, University of Houston, Texas,
W. F. Smith,
Associate Member, Dept. of Defence, Canberra, ACT, Australia,
Visitor, Maritime Research Institute Netherlands, Wageningen,The Netherlands,
J. K. Allen,
Visitor, Janco Research, Inc., Houston,Texas,
Visitor, University of Houston, Texas
For decades ships have beendesigned using the well-known “basisship approach” together with the equallywell-known Evans-Buxton-Andrewsspiral. The two principal limitations of the spiral are that the process of design isassumed to be sequential and theopportunity to include life cycleconsiderations is limited. It is ourcontention that in order to increase boththe efficiency and effectiveness of theprocess of ship design a new paradigmfor the process of design is needed. Inthis paper, we review recentdevelopments in the field of design andoffer a contemporary paradigm,Decision-Based Design, for the design of ships; one that encompasses systemsthinking and embodies the concept of concurrent engineering design for the lifecycle.
Engineering Design: AReview
Design, particularly engineeringdesign, is in a period of ferment. Formore than three centuries, the world viewof engineering design has been based inthe Newtonian concepts of reductionismand mechanism, and closed systems inequilibrium isolated from theirenvironments. However, in the past half century, there has been a virtualrevolution in the way engineers viewmany of their problems and, even morerecently, at some schools of engineering,in the way design is being taught. Thefundamental reason for these changes canbe attributed to two singular events; anew emphasis on systems thinking andthe pervasive presence of electroniccomputers. In their synergistic coupling,they have irreversibly changed the worldview of engineering and engineeringeducation and provided the foundationfor developing systematic methods forplanning approaches to the design of large-scale, complex, fuzzily definedtransdisciplinary systems open to theirenvironments.Systems thinking
, when applied tothe design of a system, emphasizes boththe emergent properties of the system as asingle entity and the separate andcollective properties of the systems andits subsystems in their intrinsicenvironments . This is the antithesis
Checkland  defines systems thinkingas "an epistemology which, when applied tohuman activity is based upon the four basicideas: emergence, hierarchy, communication,and control as characteristics of systems."