To develop systems engineering design practices, methodologies and tools to solve the inter-disciplinary complex systems engineering problems. These aid the design and build of System-of-Systems (SoS)/complex systems relevant to defence.

Some specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Complexity, Emergence and Architecture: Complexity & Emergence comes from the integration between equipment & information, across systems, organisational boundaries, domains and culture. SoS Architecture is “the fundamental and unifying system structure defined in terms of system elements,interfaces, processes, constraints, and behaviours” [Systems Architecture Working Group, INCOSE]. It plays a central role in giving the SoS its functional behaviour and life-cycle properties (ilities), as well as generating emergent behaviour (emergence) and complexity [The Influence of Architecture in Engineering Systems, MIT].

    Some areas of interest are:

    • Is emergence management possible? How can we get the good without the bad?
    • How to describe & measure Complexity of defence SoS?
    • How to manage Complexity? Is there a method to deconstruct and handle complexity?
    • Can emergent behaviour be controlled, predicted or suppressed?
    • Can we control the propagation of undesirable properties & effects
    • Can theory or procedure be developed for generating architectures with specific properties?
    • Are certain kinds of structures known to be good and what domains could they be applied?
    • Is there a process for generating an architecture that will have certain desired properties while avoiding undesirable ones?
    • The DoDAF standard leads to a static architecture. Can a language and tools be designed to enable Executable architectures? Can the tool bring to live Concept-of Operations representation (Graphical CONOPS)?
  • Uncertainty Propagation: things that are not known, or known only imprecisely. They are factual. Some uncertainties are measurable, although some are not (e.g. Future events). They are value neutral; they are not necessarily bad. Uncertainties may propagate over time leading to questions regarding “correctness” of a decision made earlier, and/or across space thru the system of systems.Some areas of interest are:
    • What are the various forms/situations of uncertainty? How can we recognise them?
    • How does uncertainty propagate and what are the effects?
    • What methodology exists for making decisions that meets the needs of the present, yet not compromising the ability to meet uncertain future needs e.g., Real Options “in” systems.
    • How would Ilities be designed to handle the Un-ordered domain (like those described in the Cynefin framework)?
  • Common Resources/Infrastructure required by SoS: Defence Engineering Systems/SoS requires common resources like spectrum, bandwidth, airspace, etc. How can such resources be “optimally” designed, assigned, and used, as the number of SoS’s proliferates?
  • Urban Operations: utilise the research efforts in the other 3 tracks of Unmanned Systems, Soldier Systems and Information Systems, as well as its efforts in other areas such as Smart Cities, to come up with Engineering Systems,
  • Verification & Validation (V&V) of SoS: Full-scale SoS ‘test & evaluation’ is not feasible given the size of many SoS and the dynamic nature of constituent systems, e.g., multiple stakeholders with managerial independence, staggered development of component systems. Current processes focus on system level testing and pair-wise interface testing between systems due to risk and cost of large scale testing.Some areas of interest are:
    • Given the complexity of SoS, and that not all component systems can be stood up at any time period, how can we verify & validate the SoS? What is the practical level/amount of testing and what is the confidence?
    • What methods, processes, tools exist for testing & measuring SoS’s?
    • SoS have properties, structures, and behaviours. What methods/ techniques exist for modeling and evaluating the effects of SoS in network-centric operations?
    • What technologies and methods exist for integration of system simulations for evaluation of SoS?
  • Rapid Systems Engineering: a set of methodologies, tools and processes that reduces the time to market, from concept to implementation, without sacrificing the quality of products. The key challenge is how to be able to develop and field a sustainable capability quickly, with acceptable cost.Some areas of interest are:
    • Contextualizing the definition
    • How to achieve rapidity while ensuring adequate Systems Engineering rigour? Time priority.
    • Need to sacrifice? What to sacrifice? How to sacrifice?
  • Systems Engineering Experience Accelerator: traditional Systems Engineering (SE) education is not adequate to meet challenges posed by ever-increasing systems and societal demands. The workforce needs to develop more skill in less time. How to transform systems engineering education to cut in half the time to mature a senior SE for emerging systems? Hypothesis: By using technology we can create a simulation that will put the learner in an experiential, emotional state and effectively compress time and greatly accelerate the learning of a systems engineer faster than would occur naturally on the job