Towards a Formal Representation of Device Functionality

Reference: Bonnet, J.-C. Towards a Formal Representation of Device Functionality. Knowledge Systems Laboratory, June, 1992.

Abstract: Functionality of devices plays an important role in design problems. Very early in the design of a new device, both clients and designers speak about "the functions that the device must achieve". Even if they do not have a very clear idea of what a function really is, they can come up with a really good end product by following systematic or even creative methods that help them define the objectives of the design and decompose the intended device in terms of its sub-entities and their interactions. In order for an automated system to assist designers in the early stages of design, its knowledge base must have a clear understanding of the notion of functionality. In this paper, we propose a representation of the notion of functionality that is philosophically grounded. This representation shows, by the number of parameters a function depends on, how complex the notion of functionality is. Then, we sketch what needs to be incorporated in device modeling schemes so that device functionality may be reasoned about properly.

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