About Professor Andy Dong

I am interested in engineering design and design-led innovation.

My research concerns the development of engineering design methods and support tools applicable to most, if not all, engineered products. I am most well known for my fundamental research in developing quantitative applications of natural language to perform engineering calculations and analysis. This advance has led to a range of possibilities including modeling decision-making and forecasting technological progress potential. The best evidence of my research performance and range of research interests and strengths are described by my grants and sample publications. I have provided links to the papers, which will require a login through the University of Sydney’s library system to download.

To hear more about my ideas about design-led innovation, listen to my interview on ABC By Design

Nationally Competitive Research Grants

Inventiveness and the progress of product innovation (FT100100376), Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, $666,952, 2010-2014.
Quantitative models of inventiveness will be used to forecast the potential rate of improvement of a technology and to re-design products to improve more rapidly and steadily. By focusing on innovation in products and technologies in energy conversion, this research can guide development funding for low-carbon energy generation.

The mathematics and language of engineering uncertainty, preference and utility (DP1095601), Australian Research Council Discovery Project, Dr A Dong and Dr MC Yang (MIT), $180,000, 2010-2012.
This project aims to form mathematical models of decision-making based on the language modeling of what is written in engineering documentation about the bases of decisions. The new methods will help decision makers to pinpoint irrationalities in decisions and notify them of possible errors. The research can therefore be applied to important problems in the engineering sector such as risk management.

Linguistics-Based Preference Information Modeling for Design Decision-Making (0900255), US National Science Foundation Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation, Dr MC Yang and Dr A Dong, US$319999, 2009-2013.
The objective of this research award is to model the preference information embedded in natural language engineering design texts in order to identify linguistic forms of preference that will form the basis for a decision-making model that supports comparison of computed decisions to actual decisions. Work will identify linguistic forms of preference, produce a comprehensive ‘preference lexicon’, develop formal mathematical models of preferences, and generate a decision-making model so that computed decisions can be compared with actual decisions to verify their validity.

A study of the potential for the public to be involved in the design of large scale public works (DP0772252), Australian Research Council Discovery Project, Dr A Dong and Prof T Kvan, $282,935, 2007-2009.
Public acceptability of infrastructure such as desalination plants or new public spaces, is a concern for the Australian Commonwealth and State Governments. However, tensions exist between the need for expedient planning and development of critical public infrastructure and Australian principles of democratic social and economic participation. The instrument developed by this research will inform public policy to negotiate and understand arrangements that balance social participation with Government objectives.

Designing for Mobile Learning in a Technology Museum (LP0562267), Australian Research Council Linkage Project, Prof P Reimann, Dr A Dong, $144,888, 2005-2007.
The main objective is to investigate which pedagogical models are most appropriate for informal (museum) learning and how these models can be aligned with ICT-mediated learning tools. In collaboration with The Powerhouse Museum, we developed a pedagogical model of informal learning, create activities supported by a mobile learning technical infrastructure to nurture experiential learning and informal discovery, and investigate informal learner experiences within this ICT-mediated informal learning environment.

Computational Methods for the Social Accounting of Teamwork (DP0557346), Australian Research Council Discovery Project, Dr A Dong, $150,000, 2005-2007.
This research addressed a key shortcoming in group support systems, the lack of productivity technologies for managing teamwork beyond workflow. The research project developed automated computational methods to assess teamwork based on teams’ oral and written communication. Empirical experimental validation on design teams validated the derived assessments. By laying claim that assessments of teamwork can be deduced automatically, the research established new technologies for group support systems.

Selected publications

  • Dong, A., Kleinsmann, M., & Deken, F. (In Press). Investigating Design Cognition in the Construction and Enactment of Team Mental Models. Design Studies. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2012.05.003
  • Wasiak, J., Hicks, B. J., Newnes, L., Loftus, C., Dong, A., & Burrow, L. (2011). Managing by e-mail: What e-mail can do for engineering project management. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 58(3), 445-456. doi:10.1109/TEM.2010.2090160
  • Sarkar, S., & Dong, A. (2011). Community detection in graphs using singular value decomposition. Physical Review E, 83(4). doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.83.046114
  • Dong, A. (2010). Biological first principles for design competence. Artificial Intelligence Engineering Design Analysis and Manufacturing, 24(4), 455-466. doi:10.1017/S0890060410000338
  • Sarkar, S., Dong, A., & Gero, J. S. (2009). Design optimization problem (re)-formulation using singular value decomposition. Journal of Mechanical Design, 131(8). doi:10.1115/1.3179148
  • Hicks, B. J., Dong, A., Palmer, R., & McAlpine, H. C. (2008). Organizing and managing personal electronic files: A mechanical engineer's perspective. ACM Transactions on Information Systems, 26(4), 1-40. doi:10.1145/1402256.1402262