Design is a sequential decision process that increases the detail of modeling and analysis while simultaneously decreasing the space of alternatives considered. In a decision theoretic framework, low-fidelity models help decision-makers identify regions of interest in the tradespace and cull others prior to constructing more computationally expensive models of higher fidelity. The method presented herein demonstrates design as a sequence of finite decision epochs through a search space defined by the extent of the set of designs under consideration, and the level of analytic fidelity subjected to each design. Previous work has shown that multi-fidelity modeling can aid in rapid optimization of the design space when high-fidelity models are coupled with low-fidelity models. This paper offers two contributions to the design community: (1) a model of design as a sequential decision process of refinement using progressively more accurate and expensive models, and (2) a connected approach for how conceptual models couple with detailed models. Formal definitions of the process are provided, and a simple one-dimensional example is presented to demonstrate the use of sequential multi-fidelity modeling in determining an optimal modeling selection policy.

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