Interactive Model-Centric Systems Engineering (IMCSE) Phase 6
Systems Engineering and Systems Management Transformation
Report Number: SERC-2019-TR-003
Publication Date: 2019-03-01
Project: Interactive Model-Centric Systems Engineering (IMCSE)
Dr. Donna Rhodes
The Interactive Model-Centric Systems Engineering (IMCSE) research program arises from the unique opportunity to investigate the various aspects of humans interacting with models and model-generated data, in the context of systems engineering practice. This is an important problem because human effectiveness in performing digital engineering and human acceptance of model-centric practice will be essential detriments of success of future acquisition programs. This is a multi-faceted investigation that involves both technical and social facets. Evidence-based findings are not readily found; but this is necessary to avoid failures grounded in using incorrect assumptions and ignoring cognitive and perceptual limitations.
Areas of inquiry include: how individuals interact with models; how multiple stakeholders interact using models and model generated information; facets of human interaction with visualizations and large data sets; how trust in models is attained; and what human roles are needed for model-centric enterprises of the future. This project is based on a belief that improving human-model interaction and social dimensions of model-based environments will significantly improve the effectiveness of digital engineering practice, quality of model-decision making, and cultural acceptance of a digital future.
IMCSE has used a research approach (Figure 1) that has involved many different research methods and engagement with the stakeholder community through multiple means.
IMCSE research generates knowledge impacting human effectiveness in model-centric environments of the future (Rhodes & Ross, 2016, Rhodes & Ross, 2017, Rhodes 2018). The Phase 6 research provided the opportunity to build on the research outcomes of prior phases.
This report discusses outcomes of Phase 6 of the IMCSE research program, in two areas:
Model Curation: Framework for Assessing Model-Centric Enterprise Capabilities. Prior phase research has identified sociotechnical leadership capabilities that provide enhanced ability to execute digital engineering at the program and enterprise levels. With a specific focus on model curation, a framework was generated that can serve to guide model curation in the digital engineering context. Evidence from other curation fields, expert knowledge and consideration of various situational perspectives was used to inform the formulation of a framework that enables assessment of curation capabilities respective to digital engineering implementation. The model-centric enterprise capabilities identified in prior phase research were further examined in context of model curation, including model composability, transparency, accession practices, model valuation practices, model trust and others. The resulting framework provides a structure for continuing SERC research on model curation practice and curator role, respective to state of transformation from traditional to digital engineering.
Guiding Principles and Patterns for Human-Model Interaction. Building on prior phases for research that generated expert-based interview findings and heuristics for human-model interaction and decision-making, this phase of research focused on converging on consensus-based principles. Various technical exchange meetings, feedback from practitioner community, and testing of heuristics were used to validate and adapt the prior phase work. This work resulted in a set of recommended guiding principles and application examples. A classroom experiment provided insights into the potential usage and usefulness of employing principles in a teaching module within an undergraduate leadership program. A model-based engineering program team launch module was designed and tested in a small project setting. Possible approaches for using patterns were furthered explored in this phase.
IMCSE research was presented and discussed with practitioners and sponsors in numerous research meetings and workshops throughout Phase 6, as well as presentations at government forums. These included SERC events, NDIA SE Conference, INCOSE International Workshop, INCOSE International Symposium, DoD Digital Engineering Work Group (DEWG), and various meetings at MIT and other research stakeholder locations. These interactions were invaluable in shaping research directions and outcomes, and identifying relevant research ongoing in the larger systems community.