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Design Of Thermal Systems Using Optimization And Metaheuristic Methods

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Teams and Teamwork in Design II

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.461.1 - 12.461.12



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Paper Authors


John Jones Virgnia Tech

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John H. Jones is a Master's candidate in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Virginia Tech. He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Engineering Administration from Virginia Tech and a Masters and PhD in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Systems and Information Engineering from the University of Virginia. His specialization area in systems engineering is engineering education, as it applies to both academic and industrial environments. He has over 30 years of experience in the design of industrial thermal systems for a
large multi-national engineering firm.

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Richard Goff Virginia Tech

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Richard M. Goff is the Pete White Chair for Innovation in Engineering Education, Associate Professor, and Assistant Head of the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. An award winning teacher, his main areas of
research and teaching are design and design education.

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Janis Terpenny Virginia Tech

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Janis Terpenny is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education with affiliated positions in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial & Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. She is co-Director of the NSF multi-university Center for e-Design. Her research interests focus on methods and representation schemes to support early design stages of engineered products and systems. She is currently a member of ASEE, ASME, IIE, and Alpha Pi Mu. She is the Design Economics area editor for The Engineering Economist journal.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Design of Thermal Systems Using Optimization and Metaheuristic Methods


The goal of an engineering education is the preparation of the engineers to solve industrial-type problems that are ill-structured, complex, and contain multiple constraints. One way to provide this type of problem solving environment in an academic environment is to use problem-based learning based on industry-supplied problems. A proposed course in thermal system design, for advanced undergraduates and graduate students, which uses a problem-based approach to teaching thermal system design is described. This proposed course uses operations research methods in a team-based problem solving environment that simulates an industrial setting.


The purpose of an engineering education is to prepare the participating learners to solve industrial-type problems upon graduation. The types of problems that engineers face after graduation are ill-structured, complex, contain multiple (and sometimes conflicting) constraints, and have non-engineering limitations. Solving the typical classroom type word problems does not always work in terms of preparing the learner to solve these industrial-type problems1.

To obtain an idea of what types of traits existed in industrial-type problems 106 practicing Professional Engineers, primarily civil engineers, in Missouri were interviewed1. Of these 106 interviews 78 were used to develop the following common traits of industrial problems:

1) Workplace problems are ill-structured. 2) Ill-structured problems include aggregates of well-structured problems. 3) Ill-structured problems have multiple, often conflicting goals. 4) Ill-structured problems are solved in many different ways. 5) Success is rarely measured by engineering standards. 6) Most constraints are non-engineering. 7) Problem solving knowledge is distributed among team members. 8) Most problems require extensive collaboration. 9) Engineers primarily rely on experiential knowledge. 10) Engineering problems often encounter unanticipated problems. 11) Engineers use multiple forms of problem representation.

During this interviewing process many of the practicing engineers recommended additional instruction for learners on client interaction, collaboration, communication, oral presentations, writing activities, and dealing with complexity and ambiguity1.

One way to provide learners the opportunity to experience industrial-type problems in an academic environment is to use problem-based learning (PBL)1. In PBL the problem is provided to the learners then they must decide what knowledge needs to be acquired to solve the problem. This is typical of the industrial environment, a customer problem is provided and the practicing

Jones, J., & Goff, R., & Terpenny, J. (2007, June), Design Of Thermal Systems Using Optimization And Metaheuristic Methods Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2665

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