Technical Report: System Qualities Ontology, Tradespace and Affordability (SQOTA) Project – Phase 5

Report Number: Technical Report SERC-2017-TR-105

Report Name: System Qualities Ontology, Tradespace and  Affordability (SQOTA) Project – Phase 5

Publication Date: April 30, 2017

Project: Tradespace and Affordability


Executive Summary

One of the key elements of the SERC’s research strategy is transforming the practice of systems engineering and associated management practices- “SE and Management Transformation (SEMT).” The Grand Challenge goal for SEMT is to transform the DoD community ‘s current systems engineering and management methods, processes, and tools(MPTs) and practices away from sequential, single stovepipe system, hardware-first,document-driven, point- solution, acquisition-oriented approaches; and toward concurrent, portfolio and enterprise- oriented, hardware-software-human engineered, model-driven, set-based, full life cycle approaches.

These will enable much more rapid, concurrent, flexible, scalable definition and analysis of the increasingly complex, dynamic, multi-stakeholder, cyber-physical-human DoD systems of the future. Four elements of the research strategy for SE Transformation are the following:

  1. Make Smart Trades Quickly: Develop MPTs to enable stakeholders to be able to understand and visualize the tradespace and make smart decisions quickly that take into account how the many characteristics and functions of systems impact each other
  2. Rapidly Conceive of Systems: Develop MPTs that allow multi-discipline stakeholders to quickly develop alternative system concepts and evaluate them for their effectiveness and practicality
  3. Balance Agility, Assurance, and Affordability: Develop SE MPTs that work with high assurance in the face of high uncertainty and rapid change in mission, requirements, technology, and other factors to allow systems to be rapidly and cost-effectively acquired and responsive to both anticipated and unanticipated changes in the field
  4. Align with Engineered Resilient Systems (ERS): Align research to leverage DoD’s ERS strategic research initiative and contribute to it; e.g., ERS efforts to define new approaches to tradespace analysis.

“Systems” covers the full range of DoD systems of interest from components such as sensors and effectors to systems of systems that are full or parts of net-centric systems of systems and enterprises. “Effectiveness” covers the full range of needed System Qualities (SQs) such as reliability, availability, maintainability, safety, security, performance, usability, scalability, interoperability, speed, versatility, flexibility and adaptability along with composite attributes such as resilience, affordability, and suitability or mission effectiveness. “Cost” covers the full range of needed resources, including present and future dollars, calendar time, critical skills, and critical material resources.

The primary focus of Phase 5 of the System Qualities Ontology, Tradespace and Affordability (SQOTA) project is on strategy 3, although its capabilities also support strategies 1, 2, and 4. It particularly focuses on the tradespace among a system’s qualities, also called non-functional requirements or system ilities. The SQs differ from functional requirements in that they are systemwide properties that specify how well the system should perform, as compared to functions that specify what the system should perform. Adding a functional requirement to a system’s specification tends to have an incremental, additive effect on the system’s cost and schedule. Adding an SQrequirement to a system’s specification tends to have a systemwide, multiplicative effect on the system’s cost and schedule. Also, SQs are harder to specify and evaluate, as their values vary with variations in the system’s environment and operational scenarios.

Additional Research Team:

  • Ms. Reem Alfayez, University of Southern California
  • Ms. Celia Chen, University of Southern California
  • Mr. Kamonphop Srisopha, University of Southern California
  • Ms. Xia Wang, University of Virginia