Abstract

Catalog design is a procedure in which a system is assembled by selecting standard components from catalogs of available components. Selection in design involves making a choice among a number of alternatives taking into account several attributes. The information available to a designer to do so during the early stages of project initiation may be uncertain. The uncertainty in information may be imprecise or stochastic. Under these circumstances, a designer has to balance limited resources against the quality of solution obtained or decisions made by accounting for uncertainty in information available. This complex task becomes formidable when dealing with coupled selection problems, that is problems that should be solved simultaneously. Coupled selection problems share a number of coupling attributes among them. In an earlier paper we have shown how selection problems, both coupled and uncoupled can be reformulated as a single compromise Decision Support Problem (DSP) using a deterministic model. In this paper, we show how the traditional compromise DSP can be extended to represent a nondeterministic case. We use fuzzy set theory to model imprecision and Bayesian statistics to model stochastic information. Formulations that can be solved with the same solution scheme are presented to handle both fuzzy and stochastic information in the standard framework of a compromise DSP. The approaches are illustrated by an example involving the coupled selection of a heat exchanger concept and a cooling fluid for a specific application. The emphasis in this paper is placed on explaining the methods.

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