Time is an asset of critical importance in the design process and it is desirable to reduce the amount of time spent developing products and systems. Design is an iterative activity and a significant portion of time spent in the product development process is consumed by design engineers iterating towards a mutually acceptable solution. Therefore, the amount of time necessary to complete a design can be shortened by reducing the time required for design iterations or by reducing the number of iterations. The focus of this paper is on reducing the number of iterations required to converge to a mutually acceptable solution in distributed design processes. In distributed design, large systems are decomposed into smaller, coupled design problems where individual designers have control over local design decisions and seek to satisfy their own individual objectives. The number of iterations required to reach equilibrium solutions in distributed design processes can vary depending on the starting location and the chosen process architecture. We investigate the influence of process architecture on the convergence behavior of distributed design systems. This investigation leverages concepts from game theory, classical controls and discrete systems theory to develop a transient response model. As a result, we are able to evaluate process architectures without carrying out any solution iterations.

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