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Thread: How to make the design event better.

  1. #91
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    MCoach, we have the same sort of thing down here, called the Warman Design and Build comp. It is exactly what I was thinking of when I wrote my post.

    You don't need to completely change everything though to give things a good shake up. Remember Ferrari's dominance in F1, after years of stagnant rules? Remember how they had squillions of dollars and fancy wind tunnels and a huge workforce to keep ahead of the comp. Then with a major change in rules suddenly it is a small budget
    team with a big picture leader that comes out on top (Brawn F1). There is probably a lot more behind it than that - but I thought it was interesting nonetheless
    Geoff Pearson

    RMIT FSAE 02-04
    Monash FSAE 05
    RMIT FSAE 06-07

    Design it. Build it. Break it.

  2. #92
    GTS,

    my post was actually about the DE, not about FSAE as a project. I was trying to circle Julianīs post back to DE and how you can judge a design process as long as students and judges are on the same page about FSAE being a competition and the goal being to win most points. Try to keep the thread title in mind when reading my posts, please.


    No one doubts that maximising points wins competitions. It's not that that's being argued, it's whether the points structure actually reflects the intent of the competition. There's a gap here and this is what's being discussed.
    To repeat my first sentence...
    It seems like there is disagreement about the scoring formulas representing what a "weekend racer" would like. I agree that this is likely not the case, I do not see this as a problem, whatsoever.

    What followed was, why I think it is not a problem for DE if formulas and "intention in words" do not match, as long as design judges agree to focus on numbers and forget the "intention".


    No, students and faculty cannot be held to ransom for skirting the intent of the rules but being within the legality of them. Rules can be made better, and interested stakeholders can be reflective about what they're seeking from their involvement. I would stress - as a former educator - that winning really isn't everything. The intent is what it is with good reason.
    I am not member of any faculty and wonīt discuss its position in FSAE as I do not see me in the position to do so. As a student, education was not something I did care about, it was a side effect of FSAE, a competition I was interested to win, simple.

    What intent are you talking about, the one in(between) the words or the one in numbers (scoring formulas)? There is no metric to measure how well a design is meeting the intent of the competition as a whole, it is not a valid engineering design goal to me and therefore irrelevant for design process and DE.


    I don't agree with your assertion that the competition should be resource limited. There are student project-based learning competitions that cater to that - FSAE was never intended to be as much - and frankly the majority of FSAE cars aren't the last word in overall performance.
    I did not say the competition should be resource limited, however, from my experience, it is. Also I said, I like that there is no artificial resource limit by the rules. I am not sure, but are you suggesting an artificial limitation of resources by the rules? Which resource would you want to limit and how would that benefit DE?


    Take this as you will - I appreciate many will disagree with it vehemently - though I'd suggest a reality check relative to why we're here, and embrace the notion that there are significant performance gaps even in top running cars. This is simply because students are themselves resource-constrained (in needing to be... students) and because students don't actually know everything there is to know about designing a car to the brief intended. Neither is a cardinal sin. The "brown go kart" argument is especially valid - there's the possibility to build cars of phenomenal performance compared to what's currently in the competition,
    Iīm OK with not all of us being here for the same reason. Not sure what you are trying to make me think about. I have no direct interest in teams building a vehicle for maximum performance physically possible, it is not needed to win the competition and therefore the wrong design goal to defend in DE. (Not saying good dynamic performance is not a good thing, just saying it is not everything it takes to win competition and therefore not the overall goal to me. This seems easy to misinterpret, hope itīs somewhat clear...)

    I understand you saying, that teams do not see the potential to improve performance at lower cost than what is seen at competition at the moment. I understand that you are not satisfied with this from an educators perspective. However, from an engineers perspective, I do not see it as much of a problem, just take it as a thought. If you read my post again, you will notice that I did mention knowledge as a resource limitation, it sounds like you forget that it is/might be the toughest one to maintain and constantly extend in FSAE though.


    ... though these are about as beyond-scope as suggesting that organisers should be comfortable with resource limitations being significant determinants of performance. FSAE is very deliberately a student competition where the design brief well exceeds the available resources to complete it. We should not seek to entertain additional disparities beyond this, no matter how possible they may or may not be.
    So we do agree that FSAE is resource limited and you just donīt agree how some teams extend their resources on other fields than knowledge, so you want to artificially limit something to hold those teams back. No idea why that would help anyone with respect to DE or anything else. If you believe a student with more constraints on what resources he is allowed to use will learn more, I donīt.


    Quote Originally Posted by sekl View Post
    The whole "weekend racer" aspect is in my opinion only relevant for the business presentation.
    Not correct. If rules don't match intent, we need to change one or both.
    If you quote my words, quote the full paragraph. I suggest you read it again. Also, you may disagree, but do not tell me what my opinion is. My point is, change one or the other, to me that does not change anything related to DE, if the design process is judged, the design goal stays the same - maximize points by using available resources as good as possible


    Now, take it as you want and respect that not everyone involved here is "an educator". FSAE is not only about education - as you mentioned yourself, the event itself is actually not at all about it, so why should the rules aim for maximum educational impact of FSAE as a project and not leave it to the universities.



    BB, MCach,

    I was talking about asking other questions during DE, I hope it was clear that what I was talking about was far away from the latest ideas here.
    I think the idea of frequent, drastic rules changes is not good. It sounds like you would like to give each team, each season, the full design cycle. I can understand the idea, however, I would expect the performance and reliability at the competition to drop, making it less attractive for everyone. If you really keep it with "small" changes, I might be open for the idea more, however, those who want dirt on track may go to Baja. I think a change that would require design choice validation tools to drastically change (which is the only way to force a team to go back to start I think) is not feasible. Taking the "intention in words" to backup my argument, no company would change its target market once a year. I imagine it as effectively an artificial limitation in knowledge management, which I do not think is a benefit to anyone.
    Last edited by sekl; 01-31-2015 at 08:10 PM. Reason: added some clarification in italic...

  3. #93
    Quote Originally Posted by sekl View Post
    GTS,
    my post was actually about the DE, not about FSAE as a project. I was trying to circle Julianīs post back to DE and how you can judge a design process as long as students and judges are on the same page about FSAE being a competition and the goal being to win most points. Try to keep the thread title in mind when reading my posts, please.
    Ease up, tiger. Having suggested this thread be created, I'm well aware of the thread title.

    Design is core to the FSAE activity. Getting DE right is particularly important.

    Quote Originally Posted by sekl View Post
    It seems like there is disagreement about the scoring formulas representing what a "weekend racer" would like. I agree that this is likely not the case, I do not see this as a problem, whatsoever.
    I get what you're suggesting here, however there are many - myself included - that are concerned that the scoring formula does not currently reflect a 'weekend racer'.

    Quote Originally Posted by sekl View Post
    What followed was, why I think it is not a problem for DE if formulas and "intention in words" do not match, as long as design judges agree to focus on numbers and forget the "intention".
    On the day there is little other to focus on, as we are there to judge/be judged by the rules as agreed. This debate, however, is about exploring changing the rules.

    There are always going to be ingenious attempts to subvert or otherwise reinterpret the rules, for which rules need to evolve. This isn't new.

    Quote Originally Posted by sekl View Post
    What intent are you talking about, the one in(between) the words or the one in numbers (scoring formulas)? There is no metric to measure how well a design is meeting the intent of the competition as a whole, it is not a valid engineering design goal to me and therefore irrelevant for design process and DE.
    Words. There is no direct link between points and worded competition intent, and this is a problem. What is closest in terms of indirect links is probably cost event, which requires some significant revision as it presently allows solutions considerably beyond the intent of the competition.

    As a student or person engaged in meeting the competition intent, if you are playing to win it's understandable to assess the point allocation and work accordingly. This doesn't mean that students' best attempts are actually good ones (resources asides), and a part of the organisers' responsibility is to ensure that what frames the competition - wordings, rules and the like - actually guide students towards better solutions.

    The competition was however formed as an industry parallel and as a design brief for a contracted projected in industry, what's worded is a completely relevant design brief. Most design briefs don't come with a rule set aping FSAE, and accordingly, to make a set of rules to have competitive efforts judged in a student context is a unique-to-FSAE challenge.

    Quote Originally Posted by sekl View Post
    I did not say the competition should be resource limited, however, from my experience, it is. Also I said, I like that there is no artificial resource limit by the rules. I am not sure, but are you suggesting an artificial limitation of resources by the rules? Which resource would you want to limit and how would that benefit DE?
    The organisers of course wish to have teams competing as equitably as possible. It is impossible to ensure absolute parity; different universities have different core competencies, different equipment, different student numbers, different faculty experience, different course structures and learning methods (let alone sponsors, funding etc). It is impossible to ensure absolute parity in resource allocation. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to make it easier for all to compete. First-year teams are having a very hard time, and locally (Australia) we are about to enter a period of significantly disparate funding; this is very important here.

    From a DJ perspective it'd be good to see students pushed more towards a first-principles understanding of their projects as opposed to an industrial one; a greater number of students simply don't understand what's on their cars. Simple. If it takes a simpler project to enable this, so be it.

    If you are seeking direct correlations of resource limitations to better DE you won't get it. These are broadly indirect arguments, but their intent is no less valid.

    Quote Originally Posted by sekl View Post
    I understand you saying, that teams do not see the potential to improve performance at lower cost than what is seen at competition at the moment. I understand that you are not satisfied with this from an educators perspective. However, from an engineers perspective, I do not see it as much of a problem, just take it as a thought.
    If FSAE was an engineering project, that'd be fine - however it's an educational project.

    Quote Originally Posted by sekl View Post
    So we do agree that FSAE is resource limited and you just donīt agree how some teams extend their resources on other fields than knowledge, so you want to artificially limit something to hold those teams back. No idea why that would help anyone with respect to DE or anything else. If you believe a student with more constraints on what resources he is allowed to use will learn more, I donīt.
    You've misunderstood this much.

    FSAE is intended to exceed student resources in knowledge and time. No undergraduate student team is experienced enough to build a perfect car, nor is any team expected to arrive at competition reporting that they'd time for everything they wanted to do. The onus on students is very intentionally to make smart choices with regards to finite time and knowledge gaps. As judges we do not expect perfection, we look for relatively better approaches.

    We have witnessed the industrialisation of a good bit of FSAE in disparate ways.

    Not all of this is bad: e.g. when I started FSAE we used to use bicycle shock absorbers, today spec parts exist. These aren't bad, they in fact allow students to do some real and very relevant work in vehicle dynamic development.

    Some of it can be a limiting; EVs for instance: we don't expect students to make their own cells, however disparate levels of access to competitive cells makes for a disparate competition with no learning advantage whatsoever. These are not parts that are always easy to source; in some applications they are not yet commodified.

    Some of it is frankly just saddening. In Australia we've seen some universities swapping complete CAD sets, having them run on other teams' cars. There's nothing in rules limiting this, of course, however there's no net benefit when those inheriting the work can't actually explain it (in context or otherwise) - worse when relevant faculty endorse this specifically to evade relevant design challenges. This creates a learning disparity.

    A student/engineer/designer with more constraints on what they're allowed to use is simply forced to make better use of what they have, which learnings inherent through the design process. Resource efficiency is a metric common to almost any engineering project. I disagree with your notion that a student with resources constraints will not learn more.

    By the same token no one wants to limit resource creativity, as there's much to learn therein too.

    This is a discussion on how things can be made better, so please don't misconstrue it to suggest that things are chronically broken. "Better" is a continuum and I'd hope people from all perspectives want to contribute, rather than debate a need otherwise. Neither can rule adjustments account for all progress that's possible to this end, with rules we can only set limits: what can be done, what can't be done and to what degree. There is much to be done - I'd suggest a lot that's underdone in FSAE - from collaborative community efforts among students, event organisers, sponsors and the like: there's been talk of more amenable resources for EV entrants down here, common safety training, common code repositories, resources to aid open-sourcing of design work, unified sponsor shops for certain resources and the like. The competition must always move forwards and we are all as a community stakeholders to this end.

    It comes back to DE as we wish to have conversations with students where the only limits are what what is or isn't in their heads regards the quality of their design work.

    Quote Originally Posted by sekl View Post
    If you quote my words, quote the full paragraph. I suggest you read it again. Also, you may disagree, but do not tell me what my opinion is.
    Chill out. Your paragraph was read fully the first time, nor is anyone attempting to ram a fresh opinion down your throat.

    That you, me or anyone else should be having an opinion on where the intent of the competition is actually reflected in the rules is a very real problem. As stated - we either need to close the gap or eliminate the discussion that leads to it. It shouldn't exist.

  4. #94
    GTS,

    I did not mean to offend you. I tried to imply, that I feel, that the thread is off topic. I understand now, we got a different perspective on DE in FSAE. It actually was my favorite event, however, it was not the one I felt most important and this is still the case.

    As I mentioned before, I personally do not think it is important, for the engineering part of FSAE, what kind of weekend racer the formulas describe, as long as there is no expectation that a design meets something the formulas do not cover. Tweaking formulas for whatever reason at a specific competition is certainly a possibility to be considered, changing a formula for dynamics or cost event should however have little impact on DE in my opinion. I can not follow your indirect path to it, not saying it is not there though.


    FSAE is an engineering competition to me (not even essentially a DESIGN competition, project and process management is just as important as design, I believe), this should make up for a lot of the different perspective we got.

    I am not familiar with the sharing situation at FSAE-A. I agree that the situation does not sound desirable.


    The open-source approach is interesting, but I am not very decided on it. You seem to be concerned about electronics mainly (which I heard from others being seen as a hurdle for new EV teams, too), but how is electronics really different from mechanics? You just need another student to work on it - consider it in recruiting and project management. It is not a task that canīt be managed by a first year team to build a rules compliant system I believe, there is nearly not any discussion about EVs in this forum too, so it seems not the main concern for most teams.


    I do not believe things are chronically broken and I do not want to say they can not be always improved. However, I do not see need to change the rules, speaking from my experience that does not include having been to FSAE-A. It was not clear to me that the focus of the thread changed to how to change the rules.

    I agree with you, that a student I do not allow to use integrated circuits will learn more about discrete transistors, however, I disagree that he in general learns more, he just learns other things.


    As mentioned before, I actually do not think a gap in intention in words vs. scoring formulas is essentially a problem for DE. I think, as long as thereīs no metric to measure an intention, it is subjective thing and if you close the gap for you, it opens for someone else.

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