Computation supports all aspects of the design process, permitting designers to explore multiple alternative conceptual designs, to evaluate and refine detailed design choices, to validate design performance against requirements, and to extend decision-making through system operation. This Design Research Thrust seeks to develop new computational methods and tools that enable fundamental and broadly applicable advances in the field of design computation, as well as those that will specifically advance the design of devices, systems, and services for the IDC Grand Challenges.

Particular research challenges tackled within the Design Computation Research Thrust include the following:

  • Computational methods and tools that encompass multiple disparate disciplines, including those for which design metrics may be subjective or qualitative. This is an important but the challenging aspect of designing for the Sustainable Built Environment and for Design with the Developing World, where, for example, aesthetic and cultural design considerations may play a key role.
  • Computational methods and tools for designing across scales. This includes computational methods that can handle many scales and levels of analysis: from design to operation, over time-scales from now into the future, and over spatial scales from large to small. This is a fundamental issue that challenges state-of-the-art in computational methods and impacts all IDC Grand Challenges.
  • Computational methods and tools for design under uncertainty. A key challenge in developing next-generation computational tools is scalable methods to analyze the effects of uncertainty and to support decision-making under uncertainty. Again, this is a fundamental issue that challenges state-of-the-art in computational methods and impacts all IDC Grand Challenges.
  • Computational methods and tools to support design for a data-rich future. Within both the ICT-enabled Devices for Better Living and the Sustainable Built Environment Grand Challenges, we are striving to design systems that will be endowed with tremendous sensing capabilities. New and different ways of thinking about how to design such systems are needed, as well as the new methods and tools that will support integrated decision-making over the full system lifecycle.