|Intelligent Systems And Their Societies||Walter Fritz|
The function of a bottle is to contain liquid. The function of a house is to protect its inhabitants from the weather and intruders. The function of a car is to transport people. The function of an object is that which the inventor intended to accomplish with the object. There are many different ways to realize a function. Both the bike and the car fulfill the function of transporting persons. Also in the reasoning process, the way the human mind and the artificial intelligent system (For continuous reading, like a book - do not enter here now). realizes the different reasoning functions are quite different, but the functions themselves are the same. Also the results are the same.
When analyzing a function, there are two important questions to ask "How ?" and "Why ?". When we ask "how" is this function accomplished, we are asking about a lower level function. For instance the function of a refrigerator could be to keep food cool. Asking "how" is this done, we come to the function of "compressing a gas by an electric motor" When we ask "why" we come to a higher level function. When we ask why do we want to keep food cool, we come to the higher level function: "prevent the spoiling of food".
The parts of an item usually realize these lower level functions.
Further there may be aggregate functions such as the rubber on a pencil's end or the ice producing part of a refrigerator. These were functions added since it was economical or easy to do so, but they contribute nothing to the main function.
Functional analysis is much used in value engineering, in finding better ways to do things. We find the needed functions and then think about a different and better way to accomplish the required function. See also Value Analysis. (For continuous reading, like a book - do not enter here now).
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