The focus of research at the Integrated DEsign Automation Laboratory (IDEAL), Department of Mechanical Engineering, under the direction of Dr. Wei Chen is on developing rational design methods based on mathematical optimization techniques and statistical methods for use in complex engineering design and product realization problems. Challenges from diverse aspects of design are considered, such as the large number of interrelated physical elements, the complexity and computational cost of design simulations, the heterogeneity of information at different levels of abstraction, the various sources of uncertainties, the multidisciplinary organization with conflicting goals, and the difficulty in understanding socio-technical interfaces. Our work is interdisciplinary in nature, involving close collaborations with experts in mechanics, manufacturing, materials science & engineering, social science, and computer science. Current research involves three major categories, namely, (1) design under uncertainty, (2) design of emerging material systems, and (3) enterprise-driven decision-based design, each of which include several specific subtopics. Click here for detailed descriptions of our research.