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A process model and preliminary specifications are described for a knowledge-based system that incorporates user preference in supporting an important engineering design problem. The specific design problem of interest is the development of minimum (or near minimum) cost fossil fuel boilers. The current process of design involves multiple experts who interact to produce a design meeting customer specifications at the lowest possible cost. This iterative procedure is both tedious and frequently ineffective. Our approach integrates concepts from rule-based expert systems and the decision and cognitive sciences to produce an interactive knowledge-based system to support the design process. The central feature of this system is the inclusion of multiple sources of expertise in combination with formal reasoning and user preference to create the required design.