Lecture 4 - Problem Definition • Identifying needs • Problem Definition • Objectives and Constraints • Design Specifications

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Problem Definition
September-22-10
1:33 PM
Outline
Identifying needs
Problem Definition
Objectives and Constraints
Design Specifications
"the mere formulation of a problem is far more often essential than its solution, which may be
merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill." -- Albert Einstein
Problem Definition
1. Clarify objective
2. Establish user requirements
3. Identify constraints
4. Establish functions
Needs drive Design:
Concern for health, safety, quality of life of the public
Eliminate shortcomings
Improve performance
Changing needs of customers/market/population
Reduce costs
Ways to identify needs:
Existing solutions to similar problems
o New opportunities can be identified
e.g. chlorine versus UV disinfecting
Problem Definition Tips
Is the problem correctly defined?
Where is the focus in the problem definition
Restate the problem in different words
o Vary the emphasis
o Substitute key words with alternates
o Change positives to negatives
Define the problem correctly
Too narrow a definition limits solutions
Too broad a definition allows for poor solutions
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