Human and computational approaches for design problem-solving

Paul Egan, Jonathan Cagan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Human and computational approaches are both commonly used to solve design problems, and each offers unique advantages. Human designers may draw upon their expertise, intuition, and creativity, while computational approaches are used to algorithmically configure and evaluate design alternatives quickly. It is possible to leverage the advantages of each with a human-in-the-loop design approach, which relies on human designers guiding computational processes; empirical design research for better understanding human designers’ strengths and limitations can inform the development human-in-the-loop design approaches. In this chapter, the advantages of human and computational design processes are outlined, in addition to how they are researched. An empirical research example is provided for conducting human participant experiments and simulating human design problem-solving strategies with software agent simulations that are used to develop improved strategies. The chapter concludes by discussing general considerations in human and computational research, and their role in developing new human-in-the-loop design processes for complex engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExperimental Design Research
Subtitle of host publicationApproaches, Perspectives, Applications
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319337814
ISBN (Print)9783319337791
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Complexity
  • Human-in-the-loop
  • Problem-solving


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