Comparing Matrix-Based and Graph-Based Representations forProduct Design
Editor: Wynn, D.C.; Kreimeyer, M.; Eben, K.; Maurer, M.; Lindemann, U.; Clarkson, P.J.
Author: Tilstra, A.H.; Campbell, M.I.; Wood, K.L.; Seepersad, C.C.
Section: Products and Architectures
Modern design problems can be supported with the use of product representations that go beyond geometrical models. Common product representation models can be generally classified as being matrix-based or graph-based models. Two such representations, the High Definition Design Structure Matrix (HDDSM) and the Component Flow Graph (CFG) have been developed independently by the authors. Theoretically, the differences between matrix representations and graphs are minimal because data can be stored and presented in a variety of ways. However, in practical applications in which software tools are being created to support new design methods, we have found that the choice between using a matrix-based or graph-based representation has implications for the way the product information is captured, evaluated, and used. In this paper we explore the benefits and limitations of the HDDSM (a matrix-based model) and the CFG (a graph-based model.) Based on our experiences, we provide a list of questions to guide the selection of an appropriate product representation format for new research in design methodology.