Pieter Vermaas Research and Publications



Design for values

Design research

Functions and philosophy

Functions and engineering

Functions and applied ontology

Quantum mechanics

Functions and applied ontology publications

directly to the publications
My research in applied ontology consists of a long-term project together with Stefano Borgo (Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, CNR), Massimiliano Carrara (University of Padua) and Pawel Garbacz (John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin) to formalise different concepts of function as used in engineering within the single foundational ontology of Dolce. Concepts that are formalised include the one by Chandrasekaran and Josephson and the transformation-of-flows concept as advanced by, e.g., Pahl and Beitz. The overall aim of this project is to demonstrate the possibilities for interrelating and translating functional descriptions based on different engineering concepts of function, see the 2011 Journal of Engineering Design paper for results.

Research on functional decomposition led to the 2013 Research in Engineering Design paper in which it is proved for two out of three archetypical engineering meanings of function that the relation between functions and subfunctions as defined by functional decomposition does not meet the basic mereological postulates that hold for formal part-whole relations.

Vermaas, P.E., and V. Dignum (eds.) (2011) Formal Ontologies Meet Industry: Proceedings of the Fifth International Workshop (FOMI 2011), vol. 229 of Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications (Amsterdam: IOS Press).[link]

Borgo, S., M. Franssen, P. Garbacz, Y. Kitamura, R. Mizoguchi and P.E. Vermaas (2014) Technical Artifacts: An Integrated Perspective, Applied Ontology 9, 217-235.[link]

Vermaas, P.E. (2013) On the Formal Impossibility of Analysing Subfunctions as Parts of Functions in Design Methodology, Research in Engineering Design 24, 19-32.[link]

Borgo, S., M. Carrara, P. Garbacz and P.E. Vermaas (2011) A Formalization of Functions as Operations on Flows, ASME Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering 11, 031007 (14 pages).[link]

Garbacz, P., S. Borgo, M. Carrara and P.E. Vermaas (2011) Two Ontology-Driven Formalisations of Functions and Their Comparison, Journal of Engineering Design 22, 733-764.[link]

Borgo, S., M. Carrara, P. Garbacz and P.E. Vermaas (2010) Formalizations of Functions within the DOLCE Ontology, in I. Horváth, F. Mandorli and Z. Ruzák (eds.) Proceedings of the Eighth International Symposium on Tools and Methods of Competitive Engineering – TMCE 2010, April 12-16, Ancona, Italy, Vol. 1, Tools and Methods of Competitive Engineering (Delft University of Technology), pp. 113-126.[pdf]

Vermaas, P.E., and P. Garbacz (2009) Functional Decompositions and Mereology in Engineering, in A.W.M. Meijers (ed.) Philosophy of Technology and Engineering Sciences (Amsterdam: Elsevier), pp. 235-271.[pdf]

Borgo, S., M. Carrara, P. Garbacz and P.E. Vermaas (2009) A Formal Ontological Perspective on Behaviors and Functions of Technical Artifacts, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing 23, 3-21.[link]

Borgo, S., M. Carrara, P. Garbacz and P. Vermaas (2009) Towards the Ontological Representation of Functional Basis in DOLCE, in M. Okada and B. Smith (eds.) Interdisciplinary Ontology: Proceedings of the Second Interdisciplinary Ontology Meeting, February 28th-March 1st, 2009, Tokyo, Vol. 2 (Keio: Keio University Press), pp. 3-16.[pdf]

van Renssen, A., P.E. Vermaas and S.D. Zwart (2007) A Taxonomy of Functions in Gellish English, in 16th International Conference on Engineering Design, Design for Society: Knowledge, Innovation and Sustainability, 28-30 August, 2007, Paris, France (Ecole Centrale Paris), abstract: pp. 549-550, full paper, 10 pp., on accompanying CD-ROM.[pdf]