The heuristic techniques developed by Lin and Kernighan [1, 2, 3] and subsequently adapted by Lee [4, 5] for the optimum synthesis of mechanisms have been extended to medium- and large-scale mechanical systems. Heuristic decomposition methods were developed by combining principles from the Design of Experiments with Heuristics. For certain classes of mechanisms other decomposition techniques were devised based on the kinematic structure of the mechanism. These techniques were then integrated with a heuristic search to yield a combinatorial optimization technique for large-scale mechanical systems. The results have been applied to the optimization of a twelve-degree-of-freedom mechanical manipulator. Based on the experience gained with the method we believe that the techniques, which have been developed, can be effective in yielding an optimum design.

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