WPI to Host International Conference on Axiomatic Design in June

Nam Suh, President of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Former Head of the National Science Foundation Engineering Directorate, and Founder of Axiomatic Design, to Deliver Keynote Address
February 13, 2013

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute will host the 7th International Conference on Axiomatic Design (ICAD) June 26-28, 2013. The international conference provides design process researchers, practicing engineers, managers, and technology and engineering educators at all levels with the opportunity to learn about axiomatic design and share the latest research on what has been called one of the most important developments in engineering during the last century.

"Axiomatic design starts with the premise that good design is governed by axioms, or laws, just as physics is governed by physical laws," said Christopher Brown, professor of mechanical engineering at WPI and conference co-chair. "Whether it is applied to the design of products, processes, projects, or systems, it has been shown to markedly improve designs while shortening the design time."

"All too often, the introduction of industrial products—from airplanes, like the Boeing 787, to software—is delayed due to design problems," noted Torbjorn Bergstrom, operations manager in WPI's Department of Mechanical Engineering and conference co-chair. "By maximizing the degree of independence and minimizing information content, axiomatic design selects the most robust and controllable design solutions, ultimately reducing the cost and time for the development of reliable systems and products."

Held every other year, ICAD is an international forum for those interested in developing, applying, and teaching axiomatic design. Attendees learn about axiomatic design theory, exchange ideas about the advancement, application, and teaching of axiomatic design, and share best practices in industry, academia, and government.

The conference keynote address will be delivered by Nam P. Suh, who developed axiomatic design at MIT in the 1970s and published the first book on the methodology, Principles of Design, in 1990. Suh headed the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT, where he is Ralph E. and Eloise F. Cross Professor Emeritus. He was also head of the Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation before being named president of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 2006. At KAIST, he has launched major research and educational activities, including "high-risk, high-return" projects, in such areas as energy, the environment, water, and sustainability.

Suh's keynote address, "The Design of Large, Complex Systems," will set the tone for this year's conference, which has as its theme the design of complex systems and the application of axiomatic design to innovation in products, systems, and processes.

The conference begins on Wednesday, June 26, with a full day of tutorials. Advanced tracks include tutorials by top international practitioners and scholars. For those with little or no previous experience in axiomatic design, there is an introductory track that will prepare participants for the following two days of technical sessions. The technical sessions include talks, posters, and panel discussions that cover applications in a variety of fields, along with case studies and reports on recent theoretical developments.