Engineering design complexity: an investigation of methods and measures

  • Ameri F
  • Summers J
  • Mocko G
 et al. 
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In this paper, two measures are proposed for valuation of size and
coupling complexities of design products as abstracted by three distinct
representations. The proposed size complexity measure is based on
the information theoretic definition of complexity that connects
the complexity of a design to the level of entropy, or uncertainty,
inherent in the design product. The proposed coupling complexity
measure evaluates the decomposability of the graph-based representation
of design products. To validate the proposed measures, an experiment
is conducted to calculate the complexities of three consumer products
based on three product representations, namely, function structure,
connectivity graph, and parametric associativity graph. The findings
indicate that coupling and size are independent measures of a product’s
complexity. Thus, it is recommended that both measures should be
used. Further, the complexity of a product is not independent of
the choice of representation model used to describe the product.
This suggests that the complexity of a product will vary with the
selected view. Finally, it is shown that the two approaches for measuring
complexity of a product are generalizable and can be applied to different

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  • Farhad Ameri

  • Joshua Summers

  • Gregory Mocko

  • Matthew Porter

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