Studying Human Design Teams through Computational Teams of Simulated Annealing Agents

McComb, C. , Cagan, J. , and Kotovsky, K.

2015, ASME IDETC - Design Theory and Methodology Conference

Novel design methodologies are often evaluated through empirical studies involving human designers. However, such empirical studies can incur a high personnel cost. Further, it can be difficult to isolate the effects of specific team or individual characteristics. These limitations could be bypassed by employing a computational model of design teams. This work introduces the Cognitively-Inspired Simulated Annealing Teams (CISAT) modeling framework, an agent-based platform that provides a means for efficiently simulating human design teams. A number of empirically demonstrated cognitive phenomena are modeled within the platform, striking a balance between model simplicity and direct applicability to engineering design problems. This paper discusses the composition of the CISAT modeling framework and demonstrates how it can be used to simulate the performance of human design teams in a cognitive study. Results simulated with CISAT are compared directly to the results derived from human designers. Finally, the CISAT model is also used to investigate the characteristics that were most and least helpful to teams during the cognitive study.