To estimate profitability of a new system in the conceptual design stage, engineers need to estimate the cost of concept (the cost of the final system developed from each system concept). If engineers have abundant experiences developing similar systems, they can construct a knowledge-base consisting of historical cost data and use it to estimate the cost of concept. However, if the firm is entering a new market, engineers do not have historical cost data to accurately estimate the cost of concept. In this case, engineers need to benchmark similar systems in the marketplace and construct a knowledge-base with the benchmarked information. This paper proposes an approach toward developing a distribution (belief) about the cost of concept using a knowledge-base. The proposed approach retrieves a subset of information from the knowledge-base relevant to estimating the cost of concept, constructs a histogram about the cost of concept, and develops a distribution of the cost of concept. This paper demonstrates the proposed approach by using printers as an illustrative example.

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