Infused design: A brief introduction

Offer Shai, Yoram Reich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The paper introduces an approach for establishing effective collaboration between designers from different engineering fields in devising their designs. In the approach, the design problem representation is brought up to a mathematical meta-level, which is common to all engineering disciplines. The reasoning about the problem is then done by using mathematical terminology and tools that, due to the generality of the meta-level, are the same for all engineers, disregarding their background. This gives engineers an opportunity to infuse their work with knowledge and methods shared by specialists from other engineering fields. The suggested meta-level consists of general discrete mathematical models, called Combinatorial Representations (CR). Specific mathematical basis for the combinatorial representations chosen in this paper is graph theory although other representations are possible. Through the CR, the design problems are elevated to the meta-level and then new types of cooperation and employing of knowledge from different fields becomes available, and is termed infused design. The knowledge of one domain can easily cross boundaries and is provably relevant to any problem in another domain to which in can be transformed. The paper shows two types of cooperation made possible by infused design, and demonstrates one briefly on the cooperation between electrical and mechanical engineers at analysis tasks, and the other through collaboration between civil and mechanical engineers for solving a design problem. The paper concludes with a discussion on the design types that can be handled with this approach and their costs and benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ICED 03, the 14th International Conference on Engineering Design
EditorsAnders Folkeson, Margareta Norell, Ulf Sellgren, Klas Gralen
PublisherDesign Society
ISBN (Electronic)1904670008
StatePublished - 2003
Event14th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2003 - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 19 Aug 200321 Aug 2003

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED
VolumeDS 31
ISSN (Print)2220-4334
ISSN (Electronic)2220-4342


Conference14th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2003


  • Collaboration
  • Combinatorial Representations
  • Concurrent engineering
  • Creativity
  • Design process
  • Graph theory
  • Knowledge infusion
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Product quality


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