From Clemson Engineering Design Applications and Research
Sen, C., Summers, J., Mocko, G., (2010), “Toward a Formal Representation of the Functional Basis Verbs”, Tools and Methods for Competitive Engineering, Ancona, Italy, April 2010, #127 (podium presentation; invited for journal special issue).
This paper proposes and demonstrates an approach to develop a formal representation of mechanical functions suitable for the graph-based function structures. To illustrate this approach, two verbs from the Functional Basis vocabulary—Branch and Separate—are evolved from their informal, textual definitions to formal classes, following a defined protocol. First the definitions are translated to classes using set-theoretic notations with no modification to the information presented in the textual definitions. These translated classes are then validated against five criteria to reveal logical inconsistencies in the definitions. These criteria include: internal validity, external validity with nouns, external validity with natural laws, class-hierarchical validity and coverage over modelling situations. Based on this analysis, the verbs’ definitions are modified and presented as formal classes. These new definitions (classes) are then validated against the same five criteria to show that they are free from the logical inconsistencies seen in the original definitions. Finally, the redefined verbs are used to extract elements of information that must be formally represented in order to develop a general function representation and to incorporate that in a software application in the future. A total of twenty information elements are extracted from the two verbs examined in this paper.
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