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Improving problem definition through interactive evolutionary computation

  • I.C. PARMEE (a1)


Poor definition and uncertainty are primary characteristics of conceptual design processes. During the initial stages of these generally human-centric activities, little knowledge pertaining to the problem at hand may be available. The degree of problem definition will depend on information available in terms of appropriate variables, constraints, and both quantitative and qualitative objectives. Typically, the problem space develops with information gained in a dynamical process in which design optimization plays a secondary role, following the establishment of a sufficiently well-defined problem domain. This paper concentrates on background human–computer interaction relating to the machine-based generation of high-quality design information that, when presented in an appropriate manner to the designer, supports a better understanding of a problem domain. Knowledge gained from such information combined with the experiential knowledge of the designer can result in a reformulation of the problem, providing increased definition and greater confidence in the machine-based representation. Conceptual design domains related to gas turbine blade cooling systems and a preliminary air frame configuration are introduced. These are utilized to illustrate the integration of interactive evolutionary strategies that support the extraction of optimal design information, its presentation to the designer, and subsequent human-based modification of the design domain based on knowledge gained from the information received. An experimental iterative designer or evolutionary search process resulting in a better understanding of the problem and improved machine-based representation of the design domain is thus established.


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to: Prof. I.C. Parmee, Advanced Computation in Design and Decision-Making, Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Science, University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS 16 1QY, UK. E-mail: or


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Improving problem definition through interactive evolutionary computation

  • I.C. PARMEE (a1)


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