A functional modeling approach for the conceptual design of AI/ML-based cyber-physical products

The embedding of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities into engineered products has gained momentum in recent years. As the demand for these cyber-physical products grows, prevalent design methods must account for the new capabilities and functionality that are enabled by AI and ML. Functional modeling is a systematic approach to break down a system into underlying functions, materials, and signals, common used in conceptual design. However, current functional modeling practices are unable to accurately represent support the integration of AI- and ML-based engineering concepts.

The purpose of this research project is to extend the current functional basis in engineering design to AI and ML systems. The main activities are:

  1. a literature review on the use of functional modeling for the design of cyber-physical products
  2. an assessment of current functional approaches for the construction of AI/ML systems
  3. formalization or extension of a functional basis for AI/ML-based engineering products
  4. demonstration of its use with one case study

The College of Engineering honors research student will be encouraged to submit a manuscript based on their work for consideration in international engineering design and AI/ML-focused conferences.