Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Candidate Seminar


Supporting Optimal Engineering Systems Design in a Sub-Optimal Setting


Dr. Richard Malak


Texas A & M University/National Science Foundation


Monday, April 2, 2018 at 2:00:00 PM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Dr. Julie Linsey


Engineers naturally seek to develop the best system they can. However, the nature of systems design and structure systems engineering projects impedes the search for an optimal system. Challenges include the distribution of decision authority, distribution of information, high potential for changes in project scope, and mismatches between when information is available and when it is needed. In this talk, I will present recent advances in methods to support engineering systems design in situations involving distributed design authority and changing or incomplete information. These challenges are mitigated through a combination of flexible design knowledge characterization, bottom-up knowledge flow, and top-down decision coordination. The overall framework is based on a rigorous criterion for what constitutes useful knowledge from the bottom-up flow process and a novel heuristic algorithm for generating parametric optimal solutions from engineering models. I will present recent applications to engineering systems design as well as discuss current limitations and future directions for the work.


Dr. Richard Malak is Associate Professor and Gulf Oil/Thomas A. Dietz Career Development Professor I in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University. His research interests include decision making and computational method for supporting the model-based design of engineered materials, products and systems. Recent work has investigated the foundations of decision delegation in systems design, parametric optimization methods for model-based design of engineered systems, and path planning and machine learning techniques to support advanced materials design. Dr. Malak currently is on leave from Texas A&M University while he serves as Program Director for the Engineering Design and Systems Engineering (EDSE) program in the division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) at the National Science Foundation. The EDSE program supports basic technical and sociotechnical research to advance the disciplines of engineering design and systems engineering Dr. Malak holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Stony Brook, an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and MS and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


Refreshments will be served.