As engineering design is subjected to increasingly formal study, an informal attitude continues to surround the topic of iteration. Today there is no standard definition or typology of iteration, no grounding theory, few metrics, and a poor understanding of its role in the design process. Existing literature provides little guidance in investigating issues of design that might be best approached in terms of iteration. We review contributions of existing literature toward the understanding of iteration in design, develop a classification of design iteration, compare iterative aspects of human and automated design, and draw some conclusions concerning management of iteration and approaches to design automation.

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