Transforming Systems Engineering through Model-Centric Engineering
Systems Engineering and Systems Management Transformation
Report Number: SERC-2017-TR-111
Publication Date: 2018-08-08
Project: Transforming Systems Engineering through Model Based Systems Engineering-ARDEC
Dr. Mark Blackburn
Dr. Dinesh Verma
This research task (RT-168) addresses research needs defined by the United States (US) Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) in Picatinny, NJ. The purpose of this RT-168 Phase II final technical report is to document the refinement and expansion of those needs and the accomplishment provide through working sessions, demonstrations, presentations, models, prototype tools and reports provided to the ARDEC team, with particular focus on the updates since the start of Phase II in August 2017. These needs are characterized as overarching objectives and goals to elicit requirements for the Armament Virtual Collaboratory Environment (AVCE) integrated Model Based Environment (iMBE). The AVCE iMBE is ARDEC’s envisioned concept of an integrated modeling environment - “the system for designing future ARDEC systems or systems-of-systems.” The intent is to understand the relationships between Systems Engineering (SE) activities and methods in the context of a Digital Thread concept developed by ARDEC.
This research task focuses on the ARDEC-relevant needs for a transformation for systems engineering enabled by model-centric engineering (MCE). Model-centric engineering1 can be characterized as an overarching digital engineering approach that integrates different model types with simulations, surrogates, systems and components at different levels of abstraction and fidelity across disciplines throughout the lifecycle. Industry is trending towards more integration of computational capabilities, models, software, hardware, platforms, and humans-in-the-loop. The integrated perspectives provide cross-domain views for rapid system level analysis allowing engineers from various disciplines using dynamic models and surrogates to support continuous and often virtual verification and validation for tradespace decisions in the face of changing mission needs.
The Phase I research efforts created awareness about research challenges, opportunities and emerging trends. The efforts during Phase II have been adapted by the sponsor to focus on some of those research thrusts that contribute to the vision for the modeling and infrastructure for AVCE iMBE, such as approaches and technologies for integration and interoperability of multi-domain and multi-physics models, semantic web technologies, Multidisciplinary Design, Analysis and Optimization (MDAO), and system modeling. These technologies are often new, and the research also documents methods and lessons learned. Aligning with the leading-edge work from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) the team developed several Docker configurations for deployment of OpenMBEE that enables the use of the Model Development Kit/DocGen, the Model Management System (MMS) and View Editor. This instantiation of OpenMBEE has been integrated into our Integration and Interoperability Framework (IoIF) for our first use case to integrate SysML models with the ARDEC inspired Decision Framework, a decision ontology based on the Basic Formal Ontology using semantic web technology, with output visualizations using Tableau. ARDEC has identified about 80 tools that may be assembled into analysis workflows for any project, the integration of those tools for understanding cross-domain impacts is challenging. Therefore, our research thrusts are characterized by 16 related use cases look to demonstrate and evolve IoIF to research technological aspects that include cross-domain model integration, model integrity, ontologies, semantic web technologies, modeling methods, decision analysis framework, multi-physics modeling, and model visualization and integrated modeling environments supporting an authoritative source of truth (AST) that can contribute to AVCE iMBE.
During Phase II we continue to actively interact with our ARDEC sponsors and extend the Phase I engagements of five working sessions, one special session and 19 virtual meetings. For Phase II, we have produced the required deliverables such as this report, but also have conducted six additional working sessions and two special deep dive working sessions on ontologies and semantic web technology held at either Stevens Institute of Technology (Stevens) or Picatinny Arsenal. We have participated or led 10 virtual events, and presentations or demonstrations. We have contributed software to ARDEC from our IoIF, and development of a Docker installation for rapidly deploying the OpenMBEE. Finally, we are producing videos that capture demonstrations of our research and recommended methods for using different types of technologies such as OpenMBEE.
Finally, this research is being conducted in collaboration with three SERC research tasks sponsored by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) under RT-170, RT-176 and RT-195, as well as Department of Defense (DoD) Digital Engineering (DE) Strategy released June 2018. Our research is also fostered by our relationships with NASA/JPL, the Open Collaboration Group for Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) and Semantic Technologies for Systems Engineering Initiative.