Dr Andy Dong
Warren Centre Chair in Engineering Innovation and ARC Future Fellow; Acting Head of Discipline for Design Lab; Acting Program
Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies
Room 282, G04 'Wilkinson Building', 148 City Road, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006
T +61 2 9351 4766 | F +61 2 9351 3343
Consultations and Appointments
to make an appointment.
- Design practice and management
- Engineering design
- Design-led innovation
- PhD, Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley (1997).
- MS, Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley (1993).
- BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley with High Honours (1992).
2012 Warren Centre Chair in Engineering Innovation and ARC Future Fellow
Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies
2012 Honorary Professor, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney
2010 Head of Discipline, Design Lab, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney
2006 Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney
2003 Lecturer, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney
1999 Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley.
2011 Board Member, Division of Architecture and the Creative Arts, University of Sydney.
2006 Academic Board, University of Sydney.
Research Grants / Commissions
2013-15 "Behavioural Strategies for Selecting Innovation Projects" ARC, Discovery Projects (with Prof D Lovallo).
2011-15 "Inventiveness and the Progress of Product Innovation" ARC, Future Fellowships.
2011-12 "The mathematics and language of engineering uncertainty, preference and utility" ARC, Discovery Projects (with Dr MC Yang).
2011-12 "Linguistics-based preference information modeling for design decision-making" US National Science Foundation, Engineering Design and Innovation Program (with Dr MC Yang).
Associate Professor Andy Dong regards design as one of the most complex problems for the arts and science. Questions surrounding the biological and evolutionary basis of our representational mind and its capacity to invent new symbols - that is, to design - serve as the ‘design muse’ driving his research.
His research program is about design competence (i.e., knowledge of design), the universals and ‘first principles’ of knowledge about designing: where do linguistic and design competence intersect, how does language enact design, what are the linguistic properties of language use in design, and what are the sociolinguistic codes of the language of design. His research finds expression both in computational algorithms and in creative works that embody these algorithms. Like Chomsky, whose concept of linguistic competence distinguishes your ability to be able to form a grammatically correct expression against your fluency in a particular language (linguistic performance), the question that drives his research is why humans can even design in the first place.
Originally, his research set out to articulate a theory about language use in design to explain how the semantic and grammatical structures of language relate to design practice. He was the first researcher to achieve a working system that was able to derive probabilistic models of design artifacts based on their natural language descriptions and then to use the probabilistic representation to reason about function (DOI:10.1016/S0954-1810(96)00036-2). This work led to a line of inquiry into the reality producing effects of language through a computationally-derived view of the speech act theory of performativity, a speech act that effects an action by being spoken. Where the orthodox had been that words refer to the work of design, his research showed the surprising result that it is the distributed relations between words that refer to the work of design. The theory and its proof are articulated in the research monograph The Language of Design (DOI:10.1007/978-1-84882-021-0). A review of this monograph in the influential journal Design Studies stated that the book “is likely to be a pioneering reference which will form the basis for much future development.” (DOI:10.1016/j.destud.2009.10.004)
Alongside the biological and evolutionary issues, he is addressing the social and political factors that underpin the expression of design competence. With a team of researchers, he has adapted the normative framework of social justice known as the capability approach to produce a Design Capability Report (DCR). The DCR measures a community’s capability to design to report on barriers and deprivations to a community’s capability to do design. The report has been applied to several major infrastructure projects, including the Sydney/Kurnell desalination project, the San Francisco Octavia Boulevard project, the New Delhi Metro Project, and, is being modified to address Indigenous design capability.
The Australian Research Council, the Cooperative Research Centre for Construction Innovation, the US National Science Foundation, and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council have funded research projects led by Associate Professor Andy Dong.
2009 | Andy Dong, The language of design: theory and computation, Springer, London.
2012 | Dong, A. (2012). Beyond Participation: A Capability Approach to Urban Development in Sydney. In F. Panzironi & K. Gelber (Eds.), The Capability Approach: Development Practice and Public Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region (pp. 136-150). London: Routledge.
2012 | Nichols, C., & Dong, A. Re-Conceptualizing Design Through the Capability Approach. In I. Oosterlaken & J. Van den Hoven (Eds.), The Capability Approach, Technology and Design (pp. 189-201). Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
2012 | Dong, A. The role of affect in creative minds. In R. A. Calvo & S. K. D'Mello (Eds.), New Perspectives on Affect and Learning Technologies (pp. 217-232). New York: Springer.
2010 | Chatteur, F, Dong, A & Carvalho, L, 'Embedding Pedagogical Principles and Theories into Design Patterns', in P Goodyear & S Retalis (eds), Technology-enhanced learning: design patterns and pattern languages, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, pp. 183-200.
2012 | Dong, A., Kleinsmann, M., & Deken, F. (In Press). Investigating Design Cognition in the Construction and Enactment of Team Mental Models. Design Studies. doi:10.1016/j.destud.2012.05.003
2010 | Yang, X., Dong, A., & Helander, M. (2012). The analysis of knowledge integration in collaborative engineering teams. Journal of Engineering Design, 23(2), 119-133. doi:10.1080/09544828.2011.567979
2012 | Singh, V., Dong, A., & Gero, J. S. Computational studies to understand the role of social learning in team familiarity and its effects on team performance. CoDesign, 8(1), 25-41. doi:10.1080/15710882.2011.633088
2012 | Kleinsmann, M., Deken, F., Dong, A., & Lauche, K. Development of design collaboration skills. Journal of Engineering Design, 23(7), 485-506. doi:10.1080/09544828.2011.619499
2011 | Sarkar, S., & Dong, A. Community detection in graphs using singular value decomposition. Physical Review E, 83(4).
2011 | Dong, A., & Sarkar, S. Unfixing design fixation: from cause to computer simulation. Journal of Creative Behavior, 45(2), 147-159.doi:10.1002/j.2162-6057.2011.tb01093.x
2010 | Dong, A, 'Biological first principles for design competence', Artificial Intelligence Engineering Design Analysis and Manufacturing, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 455-66.
2010 | Sarkar, S, Dong, A & Gero, JS, 'Learning Symbolic Formulations in Design: Syntax, Semantics, Knowledge Reification', Artificial Intelligence Engineering Design Analysis and Manufacturing, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 63-85.
2010 | Wasiak, J, Hicks, BJ, Newnes, L & Dong, A, 'Understanding engineering email: the development of a taxonomy for identifying and classifying engineering work', Research in Engineering Design, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 43-64.
2009 | Carvalho, L, Dong, A & Maton, K, 'Legitimating design: a sociology of knowledge account of the field', Design Studies, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 483-502.
2009 | Dong, A, Kleinsmann, M & Valkenburg, R, 'Affect-in-Cognition through the Language of Appraisals', Design Studies, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 138-53.
2009 | Dong, A, Maher, ML, Kim, M, Gu, N & Wang, X, 'Construction defect management using a telematic digital workbench', Automation in Construction, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 814-24.
2009 | Sarkar, S, Dong, A & Gero, JS, 'Design optimization problem (re)-formulation using singular value decomposition', Journal of Mechanical Design, vol. 131, no. 8.
2008 | Dong, A 2008, 'The policy of design: a capabilities approach', Design Issues, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 76-87.
2008 | Hicks, BJ, Dong, A, Palmer, R & McAlpine, HC, 'Organizing and managing personal electronic files: A mechanical engineer's perspective', ACM Transactions on Information Systems, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 1-40.
2008 | Vande Moere, A, Dong, A & Clayden, J, 'Visualising the social dynamics of team collaboration', CoDesign, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 151-71.
2007 | Dong, A, 'The enactment of design through language', Design Studies, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 5-21.
2006 | Dong, A, 'Concept formation as knowledge accumulation: a computational linguistics study', Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 35-53.
2005 | Dong, A, 'The latent semantic approach to studying design team communication', Design Studies, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 445-61.
2012 | Dong, A., & Sarkar, S. Endogenous Progress Potential, ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conference & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, 24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology (pp. DETC2012-70096). New York: ASME.
2012 | Dong, A., & Sarkar, S. Generalized Design Knowledge and the Higher Order Singular Value Decomposition. In J. S. Gero (Ed.), Design Computing and Cognition '12: Springer.
2012 | Dong, A., Mounarath, R., & Lovallo, D. The language of abduction in choosing innovation, 2nd International Conference on Design Creativity.
2011 | Sarkar, S., & Dong, A. Characterizing Modularity, Hierarchy and Module Interfacing in Complex Design Systems, ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conference & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, 23rd International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology (pp. DETC2011-47992). New York: ASME.
2010 | Wang, J & Dong, A, 'A comparison of two text representations for sentiment analysis', paper presented to International Conference on Computer Application and System Modeling (ICCASM).
2010 | Honda, T, Yang, MC, Dong, A & Ji, H,'Understanding the language of preference and uncertainty in engineering design', paper presented to 22nd International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology (DTM), Montreal.
2010 | Dong, A, Collier-Baker, E & Suddendorf, T, 'Animal innovation: a window into design thinking', in K Dorst, S Stewart, I Staudinger, B Paton & A Dong (eds), Design Thinking Research Symposium 8, DAB Documents, Sydney, pp. 121-30,
2009 | Yang, X, Helander, M & Dong, A, 'Latent semantic analysis measures participant affiliation and team process quality', paper presented to International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED'09), Stanford, CA, 24-27 August 2009.
2009 | Wasiak, J, Hicks, BJ, Dong, A & Newnes, L, 'Engineering Work and Email: An Analysis of the Information Content of Email in a Major Systems Engineering Project', paper presented to 2009 ASME IDETC International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Information in Engineering Conference, 21st International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology (DTM), San Diego, CA, 30 August - 2 September 2009.
2009 | Singh, V, Dong, A & Gero, JS, 'Effects of social learning and team familiarity on team performance', paper presented to Agent-Directed Simulation Symposium (ADS'09), San Diego, CA, 22-27 March 2009.
2008 | Wasiak, J, Hicks, BJ, Newnes, L & Dong, A, 'Emails in engineering design projects: An approach for analysing their information content', paper presented to Proceedings of DET2008, 5th International Conference on Digital Enterprise Technology, Nantes, France.
2008 | Wasiak, J, Hicks, BJ, Newnes, L & Dong, A, 'Characterising the content of email in engineering design', paper presented to 5th International Conference on Digital Enterprise Technology, Nantes, 22-24 October.
2008 | Dong, A. 'Characterising the content of email in engineering design', paper presented to KIM Project Conference 2008: Knowledge & Information Management Through Life, University of Reading, 2-3 April.
2008 | Wang, X & Dong, A, 'A Case Study of Computing Appraisals in Design Text', paper presented to Design Computing and Cognition DCC’08, Dordrecht.
2008 | Sarkar, S, Dong, A & Gero, JS, 'Learning Symbolic Formulations in Design Optimization', paper presented to Design Computing and Cognition DCC’08, Atlanta, GA.
2008 | Sarkar, S, Dong, A & Gero, JS, 'A Learning and Inference Mechanism For Design Optimization Problem Reformulation Using Singular Value Decomposition', paper presented to 2008 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences (IDETC), 20th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology, New York, 3-6 Aug 2008.
2008 | Chatteur, F & Dong, A, 'Embedding Experiential Learning and Constructivism into E-learning Courseware', paper presented to 11th International Conference on Experiential Learning, University of Technology, Sydney, 8-12 Dec.
2008 | Chatteur, F, Carvalho, L & Dong, A, 'Design for Pedagogy Patterns for E-Learning', paper presented to The 8th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, Santander, Spain, 1-5 July 2008.
2008 | Carvalho, L & Dong, A, 'Learning design by experiencing design within a museum environment', paper presented to 11th International Conference on Experiential Learning, University of Technology, Sydney, 8-12 Dec.
2008 | Dong, A., 'Sociology of learning in design', paper presented to Social Realism in Education, An International Colloquium, Homerton College, University of Cambridge.
2008 | Dong, A. 'Recognising and realising legitimate disciplines of design', paper presented to Disciplinarity, Knowledge and Language Symposium, The University of Sydney, 8-10 December.
2008 | Dong, A. 'Sociology of education and the design field: Operationalising the theory', paper presented to The Fifth Basil Bernstein Symposium, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, 9-12 July 2008.
2008 | Hicks, B, McAlpine, HC, Törlind, P, Storga, M, Dong, A & Blanco, E, 'The issues and benefits of an intelligent design observatory', paper presented to Proceedings of the Design 2008: 10th International Design Conference, Cavtat-Dubrovnik, Croatia, 19-22 May.
2008 | Digital creative work, Team Agora, Computer program for the analysis of pro-social behavior in creative teams based on their natural language communication, MATLAB® and Java-based. Published online.