Cogeneration design problem Computational complexity analysis and solution through an expert system
Engineering Computations. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, v. 31, n. 6, p. 1034-1051, 2014.
Matelli, Jose Alexandre
Silva, Jonny C.
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is twofold: to analyze the computational complexity of the cogeneration design problem; to present an expert system to solve the proposed problem, comparing such an approach with the traditional searching methods available.Design/methodology/approach - The complexity of the cogeneration problem is analyzed through the transformation of the well-known knapsack problem. Both problems are formulated as decision problems and it is proven that the cogeneration problem is np-complete. Thus, several searching approaches, such as population heuristics and dynamic programming, could be used to solve the problem. Alternatively, a knowledge-based approach is proposed by presenting an expert system and its knowledge representation scheme.Findings - The expert system is executed considering two case-studies. First, a cogeneration plant should meet power, steam, chilled water and hot water demands. The expert system presented two different solutions based on high complexity thermodynamic cycles. In the second case-study the plant should meet just power and steam demands. The system presents three different solutions, and one of them was never considered before by our consultant expert.Originality/value - The expert system approach is not a "blind" method, i.e. it generates solutions based on actual engineering knowledge instead of the searching strategies from traditional methods. It means that the system is able to explain its choices, making available the design rationale for each solution. This is the main advantage of the expert system approach over the traditional search methods. On the other hand, the expert system quite likely does not provide an actual optimal solution. All it can provide is one or more acceptable solutions.