Solution of complex system design problems using distributed, decomposition-based optimization methods requires determination of appropriate problem partitioning and coordination strategies. Previous optimal partitioning techniques have not addressed the coordination issue explicitly. This article presents a formal approach to simultaneous partitioning and coordination strategy decisions that can provide insights on whether a decomposition-based method will be effective for a given problem. Pareto-optimal solutions are generated to quantify tradeoffs between the sizes of subproblems and coordination problems, as measures of the computational costs resulting from different partitioning-coordination strategies. Promising preliminary results with small test problems are presented. The approach is illustrated on an electric water pump design problem.

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