Skip to Main Content
Engineering changes (ECs) are raised throughout the lifecycle of engineering products. A single change to one component produces knock-on effects on others necessitating additional changes. This change propagation significantly affects the development time and cost and determines the product's success. Predicting and managing such ECs is, thus, essential to companies. Some prediction tools model change propagation by algorithms, whereof a subgroup is numerical. Current numerical change propagation algorithms either do not account for the exclusion of cyclic propagation paths or are based on exhaustive searching methods. This paper presents a new matrix-calculation-based algorithm which can be applied directly to a numerical product model to analyze change propagation and support change prediction. The algorithm applies matrix multiplications on mutations of a given design structure matrix accounting for the exclusion of self-dependences and cyclic propagation paths and delivers the same results as the exhaustive search-based Trail Counting algorithm. Despite its factorial time complexity, the algorithm proves advantageous because of its straightforward matrix-based calculations which avoid exhaustive searching. Thereby, the algorithm can be implemented in established numerical programs such as Microsoft Excel which promise a wider application of the tools within and across companies along with better familiarity, usability, practicality, security, and robustness.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2013