Lesson 2: Systems and Systems Thinking

The verification plans are required at the systems level, subsystems level and sometimes for certain components. This phase is concerned with generating many concepts from ideas, comparing and evaluating those concepts, and choosing the best concept to put forward. Ideas are generated by brainstorming (aka “lateral thinking”, in contrast with the step-by-step procedures required of most analytical engineering course homework problems). A concept is a developed idea that is believed to feasible , that can be presented with enough detail so that it is possible to evaluate its behavior based on physical principles, and to show that it is feasible. The concepts are compared and evaluated and the best selected to put forward by comparing performance, cost, and/or other criteria in atrade study.

what is system of systems

First a table like Figure 16 is created that codes the severity of a risk from 1 (non-critical failure) to 4 . In Figure 17 the risk, code, effect and mitigation strategy are presented in an example. Mitigation can be achieved by providing redundant components, fault tolerant components, and error detection methods.


Requirements development and architectural design are part of the product formulation phases, and it occurs on the left leg of the Vee chart. System of systems is a collection of task-oriented or dedicated systems that pool their resources and capabilities together to create a new, more complex system which offers more functionality and performance than simply the sum of the constituent systems. Currently, systems of systems is a critical research discipline for which frames of reference, thought processes, quantitative analysis, tools, and design methods are incomplete.

And, like living things, cities can, with a nudge from citizens and their leaders, evolve in directions that increase their prospects for survival. ; these form the basis of physical testing in Phase D and an example is shown below. All these connectors can be mixed and leveraged when building complex system integrations. If companies have unique needs and requirements for system integration, it’s better to opt for custom built solutions whether they are APIs, webhooks, or middleware. Webhooks, also known as HTTP callbacks are real-time messages, sent by one system to another when a certain event happens. Say, accounting software may receive webhook notifications about transactions from payment gateways or online banking systems.


A system of systems is the collection of multiple, independent systems in context as part of a larger, more complex system. A system is a group of interacting, interrelated and interdependent components that form a complex and unified whole. For a system to continue to operate and produce, the interrelationships and interdependencies must be dynamic.

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SoSOA offers a virtual environment for collaborative operational analyses that enables complex, timely, mission-focused decisions across DHS. SoSOA supports decision makers by combining the right data, tools, and training to enhance analytic capabilities DHS-wide. O “Jumping the Gun”, that is going onto the next phase when unresolved issues remain. For example, new technology sometimes requires that it be prototyped in order to evaluate whether it is going to work at all. At this point either 1) do not proceed to the next phase until the issue is resolved by considering new technologies and evaluating risk of each, or 2) consider revisitng/renegotiation the mission objectives.

What is a system of systems?

Steps 1 and 2 should be applied more than once to create several candidate concepts . The primary tasks are identified with objectives for each, teams are formed, costs and schedules to meet the objectives are estimated, deliverables and reviews are planned, all followed by the first design review. With a point-to-point connection, data is extracted from one system, modified or formatted, and then sent to another system.

what is system of systems

It is recommended to keep the implementation stage short to avoid challenges relating to possible changes in the integration process. Agile project management can be applied during and after this phase to help a company adjust to the changing landscape of integration systems. Application programming interfaces provide the most common and straightforward way to connect two systems.

Types of Systems

The services are implemented either by calls to the underlying system API or by mimicking user interaction with the system. A principal system acts as a service broker, directing service calls between the different systems in the SoS. Each system therefore does not need to know which other system is providing a called service. It can be used for fault propagation and control strategy analysis from the resilience engineering perspective and also be beneficial to the design and modifications of process plants which will enhance the process safety. Ten years later, we all use ULSs every day through our web browser.

what is system of systems

The ESB architecture involves the creation of a separate specialized subsystem — an enterprise service bus — that serves as a common user interface layer connecting other subsystems. System integration is multifaceted and can be approached through different architectural models, depending on the number and nature of components that need to be connected. Many organizations use outdated software to perform their core business functions. It cannot be removed and replaced with more modern technology as it is critical to a company’s day-to-day workflow. Instead, legacy systems can be modernized by establishing a communication channel with newer information systems and technology solutions. Integrated systems allow for centralized control over the daily processes which adds to the efficiency of the entire workflow.

What are the types of system of systems?

Notice also that boxes on the same horizontal level on the left and right side are at the same level in a system hierarchy. For example, phase B and Phase D both operate on the subsystems level. Phase B is concerned with the subsystem level architecture , requirements and a https://globalcloudteam.com/ subsystem verification plan, whereas Phase D is concerned with building the subsystems and verifying using the Phase B verification plan. Verification plans are test plans written during the formulation phases, and verified (i.e. tested) during the implementation phases.

  • Though we’ve described the three most common architectures, the reality is more complicated than that.
  • By partnering with DHS clients, SoSOA was built in an enterprise cloud environment to efficiently meet user demand.
  • Concept of Operations (“ConOps”) is a description of how the system will operate during the mission to meet stakeholder expectations .
  • It is recommended to keep the implementation stage short to avoid challenges relating to possible changes in the integration process.
  • Depending on the SoS context, there may not be funding or authority for SoS testing.
  • Although all the steps are important, a trade space analysis during the concept evaluation is traditionally the place where small errors in judgment, or cutting corners to rush to the design phase, leads to a non-optimized solution.

Modern application of the EDP now can incorporate concurrent engineering, which involves teams working simultaneously and interacting to affect the design, instead of sequentially like Figure 3. In a corporate setting where concurrent engineering is applied everyone – including engineering, manufacturing, testing, marketing, finance and sales – should be involved, to some level, in all steps of the product life-cycle. For concurrent engineering to work effectively, teams must collaborate, trust and share details across boundaries of design teams and disciplines.


As the higher authority orchestrating the work, systems engineering is most concerned that subsystems interface and integrate, and ensuring requirements are met by each subsystem and the combined subsystems, rather than any subsystem’s detailed design. The fact that SoS are typically composed of constituent systems which what is system of systems are independent of the SoS poses challenges in conducting end-to-end SoS testing as is typically done with systems. Even when there is a clear understanding of SoS objectives and metrics, testing in a traditional sense can be difficult. Depending on the SoS context, there may not be funding or authority for SoS testing.

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