An expert system on R&D project selection

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

An expert system on R&D project selection


Author: Wong, Shiu-wah Williamson
Title: An expert system on R&D project selection
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1997
Subject: Research, Industrial
Expert systems (Computer science)
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Computing
Pages: 62, [103] leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: With the increasing trend of many organisations substantially invest in R&D (new product development) projects as their corporate strategy to establish or maintain the competitive edge in the competitive business environment, the successful development of new products is crucial to the continual growth and increase in profitability in most of the business enterprises, especially those involved in the manufacturing industry. On the other hand. the development of R&D projects undergoes a significant period of time and effort which may lead to an equally high risk and penalties in case of failure in any process within any stage of the development. Therefore, the rightful decision in choosing a valuable group of projects for further development always remains as the milestone to success. Moreover, the difficulties in obtaining a right solution, if not optimal, is provoked by the existence of incommensurate multiple objectives that often include maximisation of profit or expected returns, portfolio probability of success, minimisation risks and in addition, under severe constraints such as investment cost, human resources ... etc.. Strictly speaking, the decision is so complicated that the motive for the development of a comprehensive tool which consists an expert knowledge is to a great extent apparent. An expert system which can save the decision makers hours of works that may be consumed in extensive qualitative and quantitative analysis to evaluate the projects on a portfolio basis is highly demanded. In fact, since the 1960s, the selection of R&D projects among a pool of competing projects has been a matter of concern to many academic researchers, to R&D managers, and to scientists and engineers. In view of the above, this research study aims to develop a selection model, as well as an expert system, on R&D projects. By adopting the prototyping approach in the design stage, the prototype expert system is developed through the following process:- - identify the major factors relating to R&D project selection; - identify the major selection objectives; - identify the major constraints; - establish the selection model; - design and implement the expert system prototype; and then - verify and validate the prototype. After conducting a mini-survey through questionnaires and interview, the major factors that relevant to the decision, together with the major selection objectives or criteria, are identified. With the help of the experts, a selection model is then built in accordance with their valuable expert knowledge. The expert system prototype is then developed, tested and implemented. The applicability of the model on the selection of R&D projects was found to be satisfactory. A thorough description of the research results are set out in this dissertation and the following features are found in the prototype:- - major factors and criteria are included; - fuzzy evaluation functions are used to handle multiple objectives; - balance of portfolio has been dealt with; - rapid system development using visual programming with a hybrid approach. With the continual research and application of various advanced information technologies to dealt with R&D project selection, more reliable, yet fast and comprehensive, decision tools will be expected in the future.

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