Whitespace Exploration: The Next Step in Searching the Design Space
MBE: Model Based Engineering, MDAO: Multi-Disciplinary Analysis and Optimization
Authors: Andy Ko, William Keel, Alan Baines

Multi-objective optimization techniques that result in the generation of a Pareto frontier have allowed decision makers to investigate optimal tradeoffs between a set of designs. Ideally, the designs present in the Pareto frontier are acceptable candidates in the design process. However, what if none of the designs in the Pareto frontier meets the design requirements? Or, what if the desire is to find designs that are beyond the Pareto frontier? This unevaluated or undiscovered area beyond the Pareto frontier can be described as “whitespace”. The process of whitespace exploration is the systematic process of exploring and investigating areas of interest previously not evaluated. A methodology for whitespace exploration is presented, which involves revisiting the assumptions and factors implicit in the generation of a Pareto frontier. The methodology presented is tested against two design problems to show efficacy. Additionally, a prototype whitespace exploration tool was developed to aid in the testing, development and demonstration of the process.

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