An approach to systems engineering tool data representation and exchange
Abstract: Over the last decades computer based tools have been introduced to facilitate systems engineering processes. There are computer based tools for assisting engineers in virtually every aspect of the systems engineering process from requirement elicitation and analysis, over functional analysis, synthesis, implementation and verification. It is not uncommon for a tool to provide many services covering more than one aspect of systems engineering. There exist numerous situations where information exchanges across tool boundaries are valuable, e.g., exchange of specifications between organisations using heterogeneous tool sets, exchange of specifications from legacy to modern tools, exchange of pecifications to tools that provide more advanced modelling or analysis capabilities than the originating tool or storage of specification data in a neutral format such that multiple tools can operate on the data.The focus in this thesis is on the analysis, design and implementation of a method and tool neutral information model for enabling systems engineering tool data exchange. The information model includes support for representation of requirements, system functional architecture and physical architecture, and verification and validation data. There is also support for definition of multiple system viewpoints, representation of system architecture, traceability information and version and configuration management. The applicability of the information model for data exchange hasbeen validated through implementation of tool interfaces to COTS and proprietary systems engineering tools, and exchange of real specifications in different scenarios. The results obtained from the validation activities indicate that systems engineering tool data exchange may decrease the time spent for exchanging specifications between partners developing complex systems and that the information model approach described in the thesis is a compelling alternative to tool specific interfaces.
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