We have developed a data visualization interface that facilitates a design by shopping paradigm, allowing a decision-maker to form a preference by viewing a rich set of good designs and use this preference to choose an optimal design. Design automation has allowed us to implement this paradigm, since a large number of designs can be synthesized in a short period of time. The interface allows users to visualize complex design spaces by using multi-dimensional visualization techniques that include customizable glyph plots, parallel coordinates, linked views, brushing, and histograms. As is common with data mining tools, the user can specify upper and lower bounds on the design space variables, assign variables to glyph axes and parallel coordinate plots, and dynamically brush variables. Additionally, preference shading for visualizing a user’s preference structure and algorithms for visualizing the Pareto frontier have been incorporated into the interface to help shape a decision-maker’s preference. Use of the interface is demonstrated using a satellite design example by highlighting different preference structures and resulting Pareto frontiers. The capabilities of the design by shopping interface were driven by real industrial customer needs, and the interface was demonstrated at a spacecraft design conducted by a team at Lockheed Martin, consisting of Mars spacecraft design experts.

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