Today, products that are being designed, are in fact systems that provide more and more functionality, make use of technologies that emerge at a high pace, and have an increasingly more relevant impact on the world in which they function. If we want to be effective and efficient in innovation in such a world, there is a need for an integrative discipline that connects disciplines like mechanical engineering, software engineering, ergonomics, user interaction, etc. Our group aims at advancing systems engineering as this integrative discipline by research on the (mutually related) topics below. The research projects in which we participate provide us concrete situations where we can apply, test, evaluate, and improve our methodologies and tools.
RT1: Communication in multidisciplinary development
Communication is essential in developing systems, where multiple disciplines have to create and implement a balanced and coherent system design. We aim at bringing these disciplines together by creating system descriptions and overviews that are widely understood. The A3 Architecture Overviews provide such communication means. Also, see the A3AO resource website (a3ao.eu)
RT2: Developing methods and tools for connecting and integrating engineering tools
There is a host of tools and methods that support engineering. In developing systems results of these tools have to be used in an integrative manner. We work towards such integration, not by creating (yet) another engineering tool, but by modeling relations.
RT3: Systems architecting
Systems architecting is the process of creating systems architectures. Described by Maier and Rechting as "an Art and a Science". In this topic, we research methods and tools to support systems architecting. This includes describing and selecting architectures.
RT4: Systems thinking
Engineering in many cases is about studying and understanding details to a very large degree. Systems thinking is about seeing and understanding the whole. Systems dynamics, causal loop diagrams, and the systems thinking tracks are ways to support systems thinking.