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Integration Of Probabilistic Decision Making Into A Junior Year Engineering Design Course

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

DEED Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.805.1 - 10.805.10



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Paper Authors

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Yin Chen

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John Sharon

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Constantin Chassapis

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Sven Esche

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

Integration of Probabilistic Decision Making into a Junior Year Engineering Design Course

Yin M. Chen, John Sharon, Sven K. Esche & Constantin Chassapis

Department of Mechanical Engineering Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ, USA

Abstract Decision making is a very important aspect of the engineering design process. While many real- world decisions are made under conditions of uncertainty and risk, current undergraduate engineering curricula rarely include any principles of decision theory or use probabilistic modeling and computational techniques. For example, while utility theory is a crucial component of the decision making process, it is typically omitted in engineering curricula. Also, probability theory, which establishes the basic mathematical tools needed for the proper assessment of uncertainty and risk, is often not included in a learning-enhancing context such as engineering design. This situation calls for a paradigm shift in design education where practical examples of real design cases are used to illustrate the application of these scientific principles. This paper describes our latest progress in an NSF-sponsored pilot program that aims to develop, implement and assess approaches based on stochastic modeling and simulation for the engineering design education at Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT). We have constructed a series of design scenarios by which we will implement stochastic methods into Engineering Design VI. This course is taken by mechanical engineering students in the junior year. Previously, this course was based on deterministic approaches for integrated product design, spanning the entire process from product conception to product realization, following the syllabus outlined by Ulrich and Eppinger.1 This paper discusses how the newly developed lecture materials based on the framework by Hazelrigg2 have been integrated into the existing course syllabus. Furthermore, it describes the design scenarios together with appropriate MATLAB and MS Excel analysis modules that were developed for student usage in laboratory exercises. The pilot course is currently in progress during the spring semester 2005. Upon its successful completion, student performance will be examined, the approach evaluated and revised if necessary, and implementation into the capstone design sequence in the mechanical engineering department will be planned.

Introduction Most engineering undergraduates only gain a cursory knowledge of how engineering design works in the real world, outside of the idealistic, fully-defined circumstances typically assumed in educational design exercises. In order to better prepare students for working under real world

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Chen, Y., & Sharon, J., & Chassapis, C., & Esche, S. (2005, June), Integration Of Probabilistic Decision Making Into A Junior Year Engineering Design Course Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14566

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