Module formation is the step in which a product’s architecture is established in such a way that complex interactions are intra-modular and inter-modular interactions are more simple. If a matrix representation exists, such as a Design Structure Matrix, this involves clustering system entities into groups with strong intra-dependencies. For simple products, clustering may be done manually, but for complex products, computer tools are required. Existing clustering algorithms are either slow, or unable to guarantee a globally optimal solution. To enable iterative work and to make cluster analysis useful also in the detailing steps, efficient and effective computer algorithms are required. This paper presents an efficient and effective Genetic clustering algorithm, with the Minimum Description Length measure. To significantly reduce the time required for the algorithm to find a good clustering result, a knowledge aware heuristic element is included in the GA process. The efficiency and effectiveness of the algorithm is verified with four case studies.

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