Design is a kind of intelligent behaviour: a kind which makes much use of explicit knowledge. This paper presents the philosophy, aims, background, experimental approach, of the AI in Design research programme being conducted in the Department of Artificial Intelligence, Edinburgh University. It structures this presentation in terms of the three levels, or kinds, of understanding that Artificial Intelligence research should generate; Knowledge Level, Symbol Level, and System Engineering Level understanding. The development of an exploration-based model of design is presented at the Knowledge Level, an AI-based design support system architecture is presented at the Symbol Level, and the engineering of a series of experimental design support systems is presented at the System Engineering Level. To illustrate the use of the current version of the design support system a water turbine design problem is considered. A final section discusses the current status and future of the research programme. © 1990.
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