Sambasiva R. Bhatta and Ashok K. Goel
Functional models explicitly represent the functions of a system and enable teleological reasoning. Structure-behavior-function models of a physical device, for example, specify the device functions and also its internal causal behaviors that explain how the device structure achieves the functions. They enable reasoning about the device teleology in tasks such as adaptive design and redesign. An open issue in research on functional models concerns their origin and acquisition. We describe a computational technique that combines the methods of adaptive modeling and model composition. In the integrated method, the model of the new device is acquired by revising the model of a similar device, and, if the new device contains structural elements not in the similar device, then by consolidating the models of the new elements with the model of the similar device. This technique is one part of a general computational theory of conceptual design called model-based analogy.