In this paper, a published ontology of engineering design activities is modeled and analyzed using the design structure matrix (DSM). Specifically, the ontology analyzed in this research provides a basis for describing engineering design activities and subsequently design processes in an unambiguous manner. However, the proposed ontology lacks a computational representation and the information flow between activities is not adequately described. Thus, complex design processes cannot be represented using the ontology. The design activity ontology is modeled and analyzed using the DSM. First, the information flows between design activities are identified and their inter-relationships are described. Four different cases for representing the flow of information between design activities are modeled. In Case 1 and 2 feedback between information output and information input within an activity is captured. Whereas, in Case 3 and 4 it is assumed that no feedback between output and input exists within an activity. DSM analyses, including partitioning and tearing, are performed on the model. Observations and conclusions drawn from these analyses include the further decomposition of design activities, grouping of design activities, and lack of information flow between seemingly related activities. Based on these observations, recommendations are made to refine the ontology. Finally, additional research is required for developing a computational ontology of design activities.

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