Automated heuristic induction from human design data

Lucas Puentes, Jonathan Cagan, Christopher McComb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Through experience, designers develop guiding principles, or heuristics, to aid decision-making in familiar design domains. Generalized versions of common design heuristics have been identified across multiple domains and applied by novices to design problems. Previous work leveraged a sample of these common heuristics to assist in an agent-based design process, which typically lacks heuristics. These predefined heuristics were translated into sequences of specifically applied design changes that followed the theme of the heuristic. To overcome the upfront burden, need for human interpretation, and lack of generality of this manual process, this paper presents a methodology that induces frequent heuristic sequences from an existing timeseries design change dataset. Individual induced sequences are then algorithmically grouped based on similarity to form groups that each represent a shared general heuristic. The heuristic induction methodology is applied to data from two human design studies in different design domains. The first dataset, collected from a truss design task, finds a highly similar set of general heuristics used by human designers to that which was hand selected for the previous computational agent study. The second dataset, collected from a cooling system design problem, demonstrates further applicability and generality of the heuristic induction process. Through this heuristic induction technique, designers working in a specified domain can learn from others’ prior problem-solving strategies and use these strategies in their own future design problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication40th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (CIE)
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791883983
StatePublished - 2020
EventASME 2020 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC-CIE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Aug 17 2020Aug 19 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference


ConferenceASME 2020 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC-CIE 2020
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Modeling and Simulation


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