Estimating errors in concept selection

K. N. Otto*, Kristin L. Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

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

9 Citations (Scopus)


Numerical concept selection methods are used throughout industry to determine which among several design alternatives should be further developed. The results, however, are rarely believed at face value. Uncertainties (or errors) in subjective choices, modeling assumptions, and measurement are fundamental causes of this disbelief. This paper describes a methodology developed to predict overall error ranges, in addition to estimating a confidence measure in the numerical evaluation results. Each numerical assignment is given an associated error tolerance, and then treated as a probability error to create a simple means to propagate the uncertainties. A degree of confidence is also derived, similar to a statistical t-test, to indicate an induced confidence level in the final decision. Two preliminary concept selections are shown, to illustrate the methodology. Results from these concept selections indicate that (1) uncertainties can be suitably captured and quantified; (2) critical design questions are addressed during the process of numerical concept selection with error propagation; and (3) designers can make more informed and confident decisions through error estimation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, Design Engineering Division (Publication) DE
Number of pages16
Edition2 Pt 1
Publication statusPublished - 1995
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventASME International Design and Engineering Technical Conference - Boston, United States
Duration: 17 Sep 199520 Sep 1995


ConferenceASME International Design and Engineering Technical Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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