This paper summarizes work that has been carried out to date on the Implied Cost Evaluation System (ICES) research project. This is an EPSRC-funded project that is sponsored by BAe (Airbus) and Rolls Royce (Defence Europe). The paper identifies the need for detailed and reliable cost information in order to optimize a product design. This is illustrated with reference to recent cost modelling work carried out in support of preliminary designs for the proposed Airbus A380 600 seat aircraft. The merits of the various alternative approaches are identified and the genealogy of current systems and techniques is briefly outlined. <br/>It is argued that current tools lack a number of key features and capabilities. In particular, it is suggested that current cost modelling tools are not able to deal with the multiplicity of levels of abstraction associated with an emerging design. Furthermore, there is no generally accepted method for expressing the uncertainty associated with a cost estimate in a rigorous and systematic way. This paper outlines some of the initial development work on the ICES project. This concerns the development of an object-oriented product data structure that supports multiple levels of abstraction, statistical modelling and decision support construct
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