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THE PENNSYLVNIA STATE UNIVERSITY

Department of Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering
IE466: CONCURRENT ENGINEERING
TRADE SPACE EXPLORATION
Discussion Questions:
1. BEFORE YOU READ THE PAPER on Angel, think about how you have been taught
to make decisions in your classes. Describe this process as well as the process you would
use to make a decision with multiple conflicting objectives (e.g., you want to buy a car
that has lots of room to haul stuff, gets great gas mileage, and is fast).

If I have to make decision for my company or in job, my first objective will be reframing
the problem. Then I will try to make evidence-based decisions. And, also try to get an
outside perspective. I will also try to develop an eye for risk and finally make the
decision. I will always be careful how my decision affects my company and the customer.
If there are multiple conflicting objectives that I have to face in making a decision, then I
will rate my conflicting objectives. For example, if I buy a car now, my first preference is
greater gas mileage and fast rather than having lots of room. So, before I buy a car, I will
put that constraint first and make my decision.

2. NOW: read the Trade Space Exploration paper posted on Angel and answer the
following. What is meant by “trade space exploration”? What role can/does visualization
play in this process? What role can/does the human play in this process?
Trade space exploration describes the analysis of the space of potential design options if
given a set of design variables. Expanded with models and simulation, the trade space

includes the generation of new design variables along with the reconfigurations of
existing combinations of variables. Visualization allows the user to “shop” for the best
solution when designing rather than rely on optimization alone. The human uses the
combination of visualization tools and optimization to make a refined choice for the
design.
3. How is “trade space exploration” similar to optimization? How is it different?
Both trade space exploration and optimization allow the user to analyze a set of various
design variables and describe the benefits of each combination of variables. Trade space
exploration allows a more detailed analysis that overcomes the shortcomings of
optimization. According to the paper, traditional optimization processes leave users
unsatisfied because of improperly formulated problems. Because many users don’t have a
full grasp of what they want until they see a few designs, the trade space exploration with
visualization is more beneficial than optimization.
4. How would you have approached the vehicle configuration example? Be ready to
compare and contrast your approach to that taken by the VIE in the paper.
I would still approach with the model that includes five measures of performance –
acceleration, fuel economy, and measures of interior accommodation, vehicle design
parameters, and one discrete variable that specify the vehicle’s powertrain. I would try to
calculate the vehicle mass because it strongly influences many performance objectives
that are important to customers for example: fuel economy. However, the mass of the car
usually does not have anything to do with the car’s interior design or vehicle design
parameters. At the end, I would generate a detailed discussion on the Technical
Feasibility Model.