Optimization for robust design: Integrating model-based systems engineering with multi-criteria decision-making support in a distributed framework

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Automatic Control and Systems Eng

Abstract

Complex manufactured products, such as automotive vehicles, involve the design and integration of a large number of engineered components that interact to produce the overall qualities of the product. For example, the overall CO2 emissions from a vehicle depend on the design of the engine, transmission and exhaust systems, all working together. Usually different teams of designers work on the different parts of the vehicle, separated potentially by different physical locations, different design timescales, and the expertise and language of different scientific disciplines. These differences sometimes mean that costly re-work is required to successfully resolve incompatible or undesirable choices made for particular parts of the design. This project aims to develop methods that support these design teams in developing high quality designs for the overall advanced product (e.g. the full vehicle), and in choosing designs that will actually perform well in practice - once they have been manufactured and delivered to customers. The methods will be piloted using two case studies of vehicle design for Jaguar Land Rover and the software that is developed during the project will be made available as open-source, for everyone to use.

The research will build on existing knowledge in three related academic disciplines: multi-objective optimization (which uses search methods to identify and reveal to designers the trade-offs between different aspects of product performance), multiple criteria decision-making (which helps designers to choose a single preferred design from amongst the trade-off options) and multidisciplinary optimization (which helps organize and integrate the search for good solutions between different design teams). The work will also use results from, and develop further, an on-going related research project that aims to understand the relationships between the different parts of a complex manufactured product and to identify computer models that can be used to inform the search for good solutions.

The search for good designs that perform well in practice is known as "robust optimization". The research will develop methods for robust optimization at the level of a design "node" - that is, at the level of an individual component or sub-system within the overall product. The methods will make efficient use of the computing resources available for searching for good designs and will optimize multiple aspects of product performance simultaneously. Any patterns in the relationship between different design choices and different possible performance trade-offs will be identified from the data generated during the search and presented to the designer to help with choosing a single preferred design.

The research will capture the impact of alternative design choices at one node on design activities at other nodes. The research then aims to use this information to steer robust optimization at different nodes, simultaneously, towards a favourable design for the overall product. Protocols will be developed, using methods from the academic discipline of systems engineering, that can highlight to design teams when decisions being taken elsewhere in the overall product design process are impacting on particular product requirements or resolving trade-offs unfavourably for aspects of performance relevant to the team.

Successful delivery of the research objectives will represent a step-change in the ability of optimization and decision support tools to support the design teams working within the complex arrangement of engineering design processes that are a crucial feature of modern advanced manufactured products. Successful testing of the methods on real automotive design problems of strategic interest to Jaguar Land Rover will help to demonstrate the value of these methods to advanced manufacturing more generally in the UK, across a wide range of sectors.

Planned Impact

Manufacturing in the UK forms an important component of the economy and directly employs 2.5 million people. High value manufacturing has the potential to yield important economic benefits. Robust design through simulation has been identified as an important enabler to help UK industry deliver "right first time" products to the market faster, thereby securing an important competitive advantage and economic impact.

While the planned research programme has a distinct focus on the automotive sector, the outcome of this research has the potential to benefit a wide range of manufacturing sectors. Immediate beneficiaries will be the automotive sector through the development of methods, tools and processes to enable the generation of robust designs. However, the research outputs will be sufficiently generic to benefit sectors as wide-ranging as aerospace, renewable energy, healthcare devices and consumer goods. Pathways are in place to engage with these sectors.

The resulting economic impact will contribute towards wealth creation through the strengthening of manufacturing companies and their supply chains, improving the efficiency and sustainability of businesses and creating new employment opportunities in high-skill industries.

The two Case Studies in the planned programme are strongly focused on environmental considerations and will demonstrate how, through robust design and intelligent use of simulation, environmental impacts can be realised. Our two studies will target emissions reduction and reduced energy usage with attendant benefits for customers and society at large. In turn, this can galvanise budding engineers and further stimulate an appreciation of the benefits of smart engineering design. These examples will be used to inspire current students by incorporation into our teaching programmes and to enthuse prospective students through outreach programmes. By engagement in related projects, current students will also be given opportunities to gain first-hand experience of industrial challenges and their ability to excite.

In summary, this research programme has the potential to generate wide-ranging economic impact in manufacturing industries while yielding significant environmental and societal benefits through application of its results.
 
Description Most significant achievements
1. Development of a design optimization environment capable of producing robust designs at a variety of levels, ranging from enterprise level through to component level.
A design optimization environment typically uses computer-based models to predict design performance before the actual design is built. The design optimization environment is thus used to assist the designer to select the best design that satisfies a number of design criteria. However, precise models of performance are often impossible to obtain. If the "best" design relies entirely on exact models, then there is a very real risk that this design will be highly sensitive to the underlying model assumptions and, therefore, inadvertently, lead to a less than good design. A robust design is one which takes account of uncertainties that exist in the models and other factors in the design optimization; it provides the designer with probabilistic measures of the design results (e.g. % confidence in the result). The overall aim is to assist the designer in selecting the best design with a high degree of confidence, thereby saving time and costs in realising the desired component, product or system.

2. Development of a framework that enables a network of decision support and optimization nodes to operate asynchronously.
Complex industrial designs often involve a number of teams working separately and possibly over different periods of time on different parts of the design. This framework recognises this mode of working and enables teams to perform their separate subsystem optimizations while enabling sharing of design progress information between the teams to lead to faster and better integrated designs.

3. Demonstration of these capabilities in two pilot case studies, identified by Jaguar Land Rover as being of key strategic importance.
These case studies are subject to commercial confidentiality constraints. The results are being taken forward by the participating Jaguar Land Rover teams.

4. Development of an open source software package, Liger, that implements the framework and some of the methods.
Provision of this open-source package enables the design optimization framework to be used in a variety of different sectors.
Exploitation Route The findings are being taken forward under the leadership of Co-I, Dr Robin Purshouse (University of Sheffield) and industry project leader, Jacqui Morison (JLR).
Widespread adoption of the methods by a variety of sectors is being promoted through the provision of an open-source software package, Liger, that implements the framework and some of the methods.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Retail,Transport

URL https://github.com/ligerdev/liger
 
Description Conducted two case studies with Jaguar Land Rover that revealed new insights for the company. The company agreed (2018) to conduct trials of the new methodology. Other industries are now expressing an interest in using the tolls we have developed and one is already using them.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Retail,Transport
Impact Types Economic

 
Description DETC Lite
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Funding ID J14921 
Organisation Digital Engineering and Test Centre 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 10/2018
 
Description DYNamic Analysis Modelling and Optimisation of GDI Engines (DYNAMO)
Amount £8,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID APC6 113130 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2020
 
Description EPSRC Summer Vacation Bursary Programme
Amount £2,400 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2016 
End 08/2016
 
Description Future Manufacturing Hub
Amount £10,315,413 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P006566/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2023
 
Description Many-objective Optimization Pilot Project
Amount £65,000 (GBP)
Organisation Unilever 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 03/2019
 
Description 2019 Lorentz Center workshop on many-objective optimization 
Organisation Leiden University
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Writing the proposal and preparing the workshop
Collaborator Contribution Writing the proposal and preparing the workshop
Impact Proposal document
Start Year 2017
 
Description 2019 Lorentz Center workshop on many-objective optimization 
Organisation The National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA)
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Writing the proposal and preparing the workshop
Collaborator Contribution Writing the proposal and preparing the workshop
Impact Proposal document
Start Year 2017
 
Description 2019 Lorentz Center workshop on many-objective optimization 
Organisation University of Cologne
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Writing the proposal and preparing the workshop
Collaborator Contribution Writing the proposal and preparing the workshop
Impact Proposal document
Start Year 2017
 
Description EMO 2019 Conference 
Organisation Michigan State University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Marketing Chair; Posters Competition Panel Member
Collaborator Contribution Organising the EMO 2019 conference, East Lansing, USA
Impact Conference is being held 10-13 March 2019
Start Year 2018
 
Description Real-World Applications Track Chair at GECCO 2019 
Organisation Leiden University
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Co-chairing the prestigious real-world applications track at GECCO 2019
Collaborator Contribution Co-chairing the prestigious real-world applications track at GECCO 2019
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description SIPHER Consortium 
Organisation Government of Scotland
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Collaborator Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Impact Not yet disclosable
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIPHER Consortium 
Organisation Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Collaborator Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Impact Not yet disclosable
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIPHER Consortium 
Organisation Newcastle University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Collaborator Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Impact Not yet disclosable
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIPHER Consortium 
Organisation Sheffield City Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Collaborator Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Impact Not yet disclosable
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIPHER Consortium 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Collaborator Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Impact Not yet disclosable
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIPHER Consortium 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Collaborator Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Impact Not yet disclosable
Start Year 2017
 
Description SIPHER Consortium 
Organisation University of Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Collaborator Contribution Developing consortium proposal to UKPRP
Impact Not yet disclosable
Start Year 2017
 
Description Support to product pricing optimization project 
Organisation Shop Direct
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We contributed free technical consultancy to an ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre masters research project being undertaken within Shop Direct. We also made available a community version of our Liger optimization workflow software and provided free technical support to the installation and use of this tool on the project.
Collaborator Contribution Shop Direct provided the research placement opportunity, including pricing models and data science expertise.
Impact Proof-of-concept pricing optimization results; Masters dissertation
Start Year 2017
 
Title Liger 
Description Open-source software for optimisation workflows Website includes source code, binaries and tutorials 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Use in new projects (e.g. DYNAMO). Use in prospective funding applications (e.g. SIPHER) Deployment phase commenced at Jaguar Land Rover; deployment in discussion at Ford Motor Company 
URL https://github.com/ligerdev/liger
 
Description Dagstuhl Seminar 15031 - Understanding Complexity in Multiobjective Optimization, 11-16 January 2015 - RC Purshouse 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dagstuhl Seminar 15031 - Understanding Complexity in Multiobjective Optimization, 11-16 January 2015
Worked on new concepts with leading practitioners
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.dagstuhl.de/en/program/calendar/semhp/?semnr=15031
 
Description Deployment Case Study planning 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Discussions with stakeholders in Jaguar Land Rover about deployment of capabilities developed on the project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description EURO 2018 Special Session on Many-Objective Optimization 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Organised and participated in special session at the EURO 2018 conference - audience was a diverse range of industry participants, students, academics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description First Israeli Modelling Week 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Workshop Organiser and Presenter on Modelling for Optimization with lab sessions - João Duro
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.braude.ac.il/conferences/modelling_week_israel_2017/
 
Description Full Day Live Simulation Demonstration 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Full Day Live Simulation Demonstration with JLR participants. The purpose of the Live Simulation was to undertake a trial (mid-project) of the emerging methodology for multi-node design. The Live Simulation attempted to simulate a typical design scenario where JLR participants exercised the new design methodology, which was intended to be sufficiently similar to the real scenario experienced at JLR. This enabled participants to experience the new methodology in action and advise researchers on its benefits and shortcomings, thereby influencing the future direction of research in the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Invited seminar to Decision and Cognitive Science Group at the University of Manchester - RC Purshouse 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited seminar to Decision and Cognitive Science Group at the University of Manchester entitled "Towards asynchronous distributed optimization and decision support for complex engineered products"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://research.mbs.ac.uk/decision-science/Newsandevents.aspx
 
Description Liger presentation to AVL 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Promotion of Liger as an open-source framework for optimization, tailored for industrial users - by Yiming Yan
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Liger presentation to Ricardo 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Promotion of Liger as an open-source framework for optimization, tailored for industrial users by Yiming Yan
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Liger workshop with Rolls-Royce 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Workshop with large group of stakeholders at Rolls-Royce to present Liger workflow software and discuss implications/opportunities for their business
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Multi-objective optimization using evolutionary algorithms and Liger software 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Talk and demo at UK Optimisation Open Day at DETC
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Organiser for industrial workshop at 2018 Parallel Problem Solving from Nature (PPSN) conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Organisation of an industrial workshop
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Pareto-Edgeworth Award Talk - PJ Fleming 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Pareto-Edgeworth Award Talk on "MCDM from a MO perspective and an industry perspective" at 23rd International Conference on Multiple Criteria Decision Making MCDM 2015, Hamburg, August 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Participation in Dagstuhl Seminar 18031 - Personalized Multiobjective Optimization: An Analytics Perspective 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Participated in the invitation-only expert seminar. Gave a presentation on 'Modelling Complex Networks of Decision Makers: An Analytical Sociology perspective'. Engaged in the working group 'Complex Networks and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.dagstuhl.de/de/programm/kalender/semhp/?semnr=18031
 
Description Presentation at GECCO 2016 - J Fieldsend obo S Salomon 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of a paper entitled "A toolkit for generating scalable stochastic multiobjective test problems" at the 2016 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://gecco-2016.sigevo.org/index.html/HomePage#&panel1-1
 
Description Presentation at GECCO2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Conference Presentation - GECCO2015. Dissemination of research findings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.sigevo.org/gecco-2015/
 
Description Promotion of research at Jaguar Land Rover - repeating activity 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Generated much discussion and prospects of future involvement

Follow-on meetings with a number of professional practitioners. Generation of Case Studies to enhance research understanding
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
 
Description Promotion of research at at EPSRC Manufacturing the Future conference 2014 - RC Purshouse 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Gave an informal progress update to EPSRC stakeholders

Strong interest in the research and wish to be informed of progress
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.ukmanufacturing.org/
 
Description Research workshop with Unilever 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Participated in workshop with Unilever to develop research links
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description SET for Britain Poster Competition, House of Commons, London - I Giagkiozis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Participated SET for Britain Poster Competition, House of Commons, London and met with MPs, policymakers, etc
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.setforbritain.org.uk/2015event.asp
 
Description Seminar for Shop Direct Data Science group on multi-objective optimization using evolutionary algorithms 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Seminar to Shop Direct's Data Science group on practical multi-objective optimization using evolutionary algorithms. There is significant interest in using these methods to solve problems within the company. The talk stimulated informal debate and discussion within the Data Science team.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar to Data Science Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Seminar to Data Science Group, Shop Direct on how to use Seminar to ShopDirect on how to use Liger (an open-source framework for optimization, tailored for industrial users) - Robin Purshouse
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar to ShopDirect on Liger 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Seminar to ShopDirect on how to use Liger (an open-source framework for optimization, tailored for industrial users) - Robin Purshouse
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017