All entries for Tuesday 24 February 2009

February 24, 2009

Taguchi for PIUSS PMA

I read about Taguchi experimental design today for PIUSS PMA. It is about designing and conducting experiments to optimise the design of paper aeroplanes. Essentially this entails (lila's favorite word) repeating exactly what we did during PIUSS for paper helicopters except this time I need to do it on my own.

The main reason why this question appeal to me better than other questions is that it is different from all the pma's we've done before. This is more hands on, practical which could potentially be a lot of fun. And since I will be doing all of the work, I have a real sense of ownership for whatever outcome that comes out of this exercise. Well, I know this is only paper aeroplanes and not designing , for example, a new jet engine, but wouldn't it be nice to have a pma that we will enjoy doing?

Well, if you enjoy doing experiment you would probably learn a lot more. I have a slight advantage in this respect since I did an undergraduate degree in science which invovled a lot of experimentations. So I am quite familiar with experiments and the subsequent report writing (having doing hundreds of them in my undergraduate !). But honestly speaking, experiment is fun if we do it once in a while, it becomes real pain when it becomes like a job, it's really hard to get used to the repetition, tedious procedures, and most frustrating of all, crap results!

Going through Graeme's notes on Taguchi definitely made things much clearer now, espcially the calculations and why they are done in a certain way. The content isn't too difficult to follow, only about 37 pages and by the end you will get a good gist of how to do Taguchi.

Just while I am on the topic, I am also considering changing the subject of the experimental study, trying to find something else to improve it's design that is not just simple paper aeroplane. I am a bit short on the ideas for now, hopefully something interesting will come up before I get started on the actual experiments.

Unlike FACS (growl ~~) , I think I am going to enjoy this PMA :)



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