Tradespace and Affordability

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Barry Boehm, University of Southern California (

Timeframe:  This is a five year research task, which will be broken up into seven phases. Phase I: October 2012 to February 2013; Phase II: March 2013 to Dec 2013; Phase III: January 2014 to December 2014; Phase IV: January 2015 to December 2015; Phase V:  April 2016 to April 2017; Phase VI: April 2017 to April 2018

Category: Systems Engineering and Systems Management Transformation


Objective: To develop better methods of conducting system trades involving aspects of the system that are difficult to quantify, such as resilience and safety, and the cost, schedule and performance impacts of such trades
Approach: The project will be a multi-year research effort conducted in several phases. The first phase (RT 46) consisted of a number of separate activities, including

  • Developing an understanding of the different DoD stakeholder priorities for the ilities
  • Development of frameworks for understanding and making trades against such factors, and
  • Creating an initial demonstration capability, ideally leveraging, as much as practicable, existing research and commercial tradespace tools.

The focus of the second phase (RT 46) and third phase (RT 113) is to apply the methods and tools developed in the first phase on problems relevant to DoD, ideally using the information available from development of a large weapon system, or a large automated information system. Ideally, the SERC will work with the system developer to gain a deep understanding of the strengths and limitations of the tradespace tools methods developed under Phase 1. Phase 2 and 3 activities will expand the set of ilities represented in the tradespace. The information learned from Phases 2 and 3 will be used to improve the frameworks and tools developed in the Phase 1 activities.



Lane, J.A., Koolmanojwong, S., Boehm, B., “Affordable Systems: Balancing the Capability, Schedule, Flexibility,and Technical Debt Tradespace”, International Council on Systems Engineering, June 2013

Fitzgerald, M.E.,  Ross, A.M., “Controlling for Framing Effects in Multi-Stakeholder Tradespace Exploration”, Conference on Systems Engineering Research, March 2014

Bagheri, H., Tang, C., Sullivan, K., “TradeMaker: Automated Dynamic Analysis of Synthesized Tradespaces”, International Conference on Software Engineering, June 2014

Guariniello, C., DeLaurentis, D., “Integrated Analysis of Functional and Developmental Interdependencies to Quantify and Trade-off Ilities for System-of-Systems Design, Architecture, and Evolution”,  Conference on Systems Engineering Research, March 2014

Speroa, E., Bloebaumb, C.L., Germanc, B.J., Pyster, A., Ross, A.M., “A Research Agenda for Tradespace Exploration and Analysis of Engineered Resilient Systems“, Conference on Systems Engineering Research, March 2014

Sitterle, V.B., Curry, M.D., Freeman, D., Ender, T.R., “Integrated Toolset and Workflow for Tradespace Analytics in Systems Engineering,” 24th INCOSE International Symposium, July 2014

Research team

Current researchers:

  • Dr. David Jacques, Air Force Institute of Technology
  • Dr. John Columbi, Air Force Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Erin Ryan,Air Force Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Tommer Ender, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Russell Peak, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Valerie Sitterle, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Mr. Michael Curry, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Donna Rhodes, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Adam Ross, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Ray Madachy, Naval Postgraduate School
  • Dr. Kristin Giammarco, Naval Postgraduate School
  • Dr. Michael Yukish, Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr. Barry Boehm, University of Southern California
  • Dr. Jo Ann Lane, University of Southern California
  • Ms. Reem Alfayez, University of Southern California
  • Mr. Jim Alstad, University of Southern California
  • Ms. Celia Chen, University of Southern California
  • Mr. Kamonphop Srisopha, University of Southern California
  • Dr. Kevin Sullivan, University of Virginia
  • Ms. Xia Wang, University of Virginia
  • Dr. Gary Witus, Wayne State University
  • Dr. Walter Bryzik, Wayne State University

Past researchers:

  • Dr. Bradford Clark, University of Southern California
  • Dr. Dane Freeman, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Mr. Nupul Kukreja, University of Southern California
  • Dr. Jay Martin, Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr. Roshanak Nilchiani, Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Stan Rifkin, Stevens Institute of Technology

Collaborating Institutions

Project Researchers