Systems Engineering And The Cloud

Principal Investigator: Dr. Christopher Ackermann, Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering

Timeframe:  November 2011 to January 2012

Category: Human Capital Development


Objectives: Cloud computing, and the ongoing revolution in computing more broadly, is profoundly disrupting for both technological systems and the organization & methods of the disciplines that produce them. These disruptions are creating both deep problems and remarkable new opportunities for all disciplines, notably for Systems Engineering (SE). These changes have implications on many levels: On the types of functionality that suddenly become possible to put into the hands of users; on the expectations of the users and sponsors of new systems; on the quality attributes like reliability, robustness; and on the relevant skillsets for system engineers themselves. The scope of this work is to pursue answers to three questions:

1. What will be the impact of cloud computing on the systems of the future?

2. What will be the impact of cloud computing on the discipline of SE?

3. How can systems engineering use cloud computing to advance SE?

Approach: This work takes a broad view of cloud computing including the networked provisioning of both commodity computing products and of specialized and sophisticated computing services. The latter are sometimes recognized as service-oriented architectures (SOA): an architectural model for building software and system using reusable and interoperable services, where a service is a software component implementing a specific business capability. Sources of information include personal expertise of researchers, literature search, interview with key figures in industry, and expert workshop

Application: Concrete recommendations have been made for key stakeholders: i) Department of Defense and other organizations, ii) Researchers, educators, and universities, and iii) Practicing systems, software, and computer engineers.

Significant Research Findings & Products: Research findings leading to concrete recommendations on a number of topics have been reported. Topics include: Deep & integrated pervasive computing, Human factors, Centralized data analysis for future systems, Interface specification, validation & documentation, System health monitoring & repair, Standards, Engineering of computational behavior, Lifecycle models & development processes, Increasing need for non-expert programming, Modeling notations & analysis techniques, Business case, cost & schedule, System dependability & certification, Security & privacy, Role of system engineers, Education, and Exploiting the cloud for SE



Publications: None to date

Research Team

Research Team

  • Dr. Christopher Ackermann, Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering
  • Dr. Madeline Diep, Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering
  • Dr. Forrest Shull, Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering
  • Dr. Marty Humphrey, University of Virginia
  • Dr. Kevin Sullivan, University of Virginia
  • Dr. LiGuo Huang, Southern Methodist University
  • Mr. Xu Bai, Southern Methodist University
  • Mr. Yingmao Li, Southern Methodist University

Collaborating Institutions

Project Researchers