Engineering design has been increasingly viewed as a decision making process involving complex multiple criteria optimization. Many Multi-attribute Utility Theory (MAUT)-based models exist to develop the single attribute functions and the weight assessment for the overall utility with individual strengths and drawbacks. Focusing on the efforts towards a consistent preference representation supported engineering design procedure, a binary comparison and indirect assessment based method is presented in this paper to efficiently aid the continuous multicriteria decision making in engineering design. Uniqueness of this approach lies in its ability to deal with issues such as the preference consistency and accuracy, decision maker's cognitive burden, conditions of uncertainty and risk, dynamic and interactive modeling of the designer's preference structure, and SAU-like aggregation of the system utilities. The many salient features of this comparison-based multiattribute utility approach include a novel inequality lottery strategy, an adaptive meshing based linear additive utility model, a linear programming based dynamic preference modeling and systematic consistency checking, and an efficient exploration of optimal solution set and sensitivity analysis. The development of this method and its utilization in engineering design are presented in the context of a mechanism parametric design problem and the results are discussed.
Keywords: Engineering Design, Multicriteria optimization, Decision Analysis, Utility Theory