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Complexity: Theory And Applications

Everyone seems to know intuitively what "complexity" is, but when we probe their perception and understanding of complexity, we find that they all have different views on and understanding of the subject matter. Using the power of Axiomatic Design methods, Dr. Suh presents an alternative rational for assessing, quantifying and mitigating the impact of complexity upon the design of products, systems or services.


This text is written to for both practitioners as well as students supplied with with many examples, references and chapter homework problems. A summary of the chapter content is:
  • Chapter 2 of this book is an introduction to Axiomatic Design theory since the complexity theory presented is an extension of this theory.
  • Chapter 3 outlines the basic theory of complexity.
  • Chapter 4 shows how the time-independent real complexity can be reduced either through the elimination of bias and variance of uncoupled or decoupled designs or through the redesign to eliminate coupling. The design of pin-joints and an internal combustion engine are used to illustrate the process of creating a design that satisfies the Independence Axiom.
  • Chapter 5 presents the basic principles involved in transforming a system with time-dependent combinatorial complexity into a system with time-dependent periodic complexity.
  • Chapter 6 deals with the use of functional periodicity in manufacturing systems.
  • Chapter 7 shows how a functional periodicity based on geometry can be used to control the friction and wear behavior of materials.
  • Chapter 8 covers the functional periodicity in materials to improve the material properties.
  • Chapter 9 shows how functional periodicity solves complexity issues in biological systems. Biological systems cannot survive without functional periodicity.


"Nam P. Suh focused his Axiomatic Design theories on an effective method to understand and deal with complexity. Known for his systems that aim to speed up and simplify the process of design for manufacturing, Suh is a well-respected designer and researcher in the fields of manufacturing and composite materials. Complexity, besides being a key area of burgeoning research in disciplines interested in complex systems and chaos theory (like computer science and physics), is a complicating factor in engineering design that many engineers find difficult to overcome. Suh's multidisciplinary exploration of complex systems is meant to eliminate much of the confusion and allow engineers to accommodate complexity within robust design solutions."

Product Details

Hardcover: 330 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 31, 2005)
ISBN: 0195178769
Product Dimensions: 1.0 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

About the Author

Nam Pyo Suh, Ralph & Eloise F. Cross Professor, and Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Price $93

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