Recent developments in aerospace design systems are being driven by studies in a number of areas including new software methodologies, advanced approximation techniques, data archiving and fusion methods, artificial intelligence, and the natural biology and socio-economic behaviour of species together with the continuing developments in computational hardware. Advances in these areas are leading to interesting new ways of managing the design process when dealing with increasingly complex systems and also increasingly complex design organizations. This work covers topics as diverse as the formal optimisation of differential equation models, the management of workstation clusters in design offices and the re-use of linguistically formulated knowledge. Collectively, such studies allow the production of problem solving environments, where a wide range of approaches can be readily integrated by the design team to suit the problem in hand.
The ideas discussed in this paper have been formed by the authors' experiences gained in aero-engine, aircraft and satellite design optimisation. They are not meant to be exhaustive or prescriptive, but instead present a personal view of some of the challenges that lie ahead.