Pandey, V., Mourelatos, Z., and Castanier, M., "Enhancing Decision Topology Assessment in Engineering Design," SAE Int. J. Mater. Manf. 7(2):248-255, 2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-0719.
Implications of decision analysis (DA) on engineering design are important and well-documented. However, widespread adoption has not occurred. To that end, the authors recently proposed decision topologies (DT) as a visual method for representing decision situations and proved that they are entirely consistent with normative decision analysis. This paper addresses the practical issue of assessing the DTs of a designer using their responses. As in classical DA, this step is critical to encoding the DA's preferences so that further analysis and mathematical optimization can be performed on the correct set of preferences. We show how multi-attribute DTs can be directly assessed from DM responses. Furthermore, we show that preferences under uncertainty can be trivially incorporated and that topologies can be constructed using single attribute topologies similarly to multi-linear functions in utility analysis. This incremental construction simplifies the process of topology construction. The methods are demonstrated using a design decision making problem of a welded beam.