Case-Based Reasoning in Design

Case-Based Reasoning in Design

Case-Based Reasoning in Design

Case-Based Reasoning in Design


Case-based reasoning in design is becoming an important approach to computer-support for design as well as an important component in understanding the design process. Design has become a major focus for problem solving paradigms due to its complexity and open-ended nature. This book presents a clear description of how case-based reasoning can be applied to design problems, including the representation of design cases, indexing and retrieving design cases, and the range of paradigms for adapting design cases. With a focus on design, this book differs from others that provide a generalist view of case-based reasoning.

This volume provides two important contributions to the area:

• a general description of the issues and alternatives in applying case-based reasoning to design, and

• a description of specific implementations of case-based design.

Through this combination, the reader will learn about both the general issues and the practical problems in supporting design through case-based reasoning. This book was prepared to fill a gap in the literature on the unique problems that design introduces to computational paradigms developed in computer science. It also addresses the needs of computational support for design problem solving from both theoretical and practical perspectives.


Computer support for design has gone through many generations and philosophical perspectives. in the early days, it was thought that computer-based design support should take the form of a sophisticated calculator that could handle complex analytical problems and make fewer errors than people. Similarly, there was a strong push toward cad and computer support for generating production drawings. As the cad systems improved and included more and more functionality, the analysis programs became capable of solving more and more complex problems with better accuracy. However, the idea of computer-based design support still eluded us.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a new approach introduced for computer-based design support: the artificial intelligence (AI) approach. Both logic and rule-based systems looked promising because they could address the aspect of design reasoning that was hard to do with numbers. Several expert systems were developed across a broad range of applications, some of which touched on the area of design. Still, these expert systems for design seemed to fall short of their promises. They needed more rules to cover more situations, they didn't learn as people did, and they were good at inferring new facts from known facts but not at synthesizing new designs. There are many reasons why the expert system approach has had limited success in providing computer-based support for design, but the point is that the research community is still looking for that elusive "computer-based design support." Professional designers are only interested if the system gets it right and saves them money.

One of the recent developments in problem solving paradigms in ai is the idea of case-based reasoning. in case-based reasoning, some aspect of a new problem provides a reminder of a previous experience and that experience can be the basis for a new solution. This approach shows great potential for computerbased design support. It combines the best of ai and expert systems, using symbolic reasoning and experience, and does not appear to have some of the pitfalls, such as the use of deduction to generate solutions, the difficulty in updating to reflect new experience, and so on. However, the use of case-based reasoning in design is in its early days, and there is some confusion about what role this new paradigm can play and how such systems are implemented.

Let's look at what case-based reasoning in design means. Assume you are a structural engineer on a design project for a new hotel that has water views on both sides of its main axis. You may recall a similar project that your firm . . .

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