BAE Systems, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the EPSRC Chair in Systems Engineering

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Electronic, Electrical & Systems Enginee


Systems engineering has traditionally been an interdisciplinary discipline dominated by aerospace and defence. But there are challenges today that current systems engineering practises fail to meet. A dramatic example of such a failure is the recent cancellation of the U.S. Army $161B Future Combat System, which was the second largest defence programme in the world. Expensive large scale systems are becoming unaffordable. Ever greater efficiency and agility are needed. Systems engineering and defence systems are in a time of change. The community is actively rethinking its concepts and practices as it undergoes dramatic growth. The emergence of Model Driven Architecture (MDA) over the past decade and recent initiatives for model-based systems engineering (MBSE) will play heavily in how the practice of architecture and systems engineering evolves. MBSE has the potential to address the challenges faced by systems engineering, reducing both development time and cost. Put simply, it is an evolution from a document based engineering style to one that is based on formal, traceable, machine readable models developed and used in electronic engineering environments. The MDA paradigm is already delivering significant benefits within software engineering. Cost savings of 30 to 60% have been demonstrated in software development life cycle costs by using MDA instead of traditional methods. Cost savings are just one reason that MDA has been successful in software engineering. Speed and agility in system design, better configuration management, and re-use of models are amongst the other reasons.The RAEng Systems Engineering Research Programme will build on the advances made by MDA in software development over the past decade and apply these advances to MBSE to produce a Next Generation capability that will have far more speed and agility than can be realised by systems engineering today.The Research Chair is properly positioned in the international community to influence the future of systems engineering and is already doing so. The Next Generation of systems engineering is here and now. It is not some future concept; it is not an academic exercise. Advances are already being made by the Research Chair in model driven and transformational methods for architecture and systems engineering that will help to bring MBSE more quickly to the point of practical realisation.

Planned Impact

For the past decade I have been a thought leader and practitioner of Architecture and Systems Engineering. During the years 2000-2003, I was the Director of Architecture for the first through third Chief Engineers of the U.S. Navy, where I was a pioneer for architecture based methods for net centric warfare and capability based acquisition. The impact of my work on the U.S. DoD is well documented and speaks for itself. As the Research Chair in Systems Engineering my aim is to have that same level of impact on the Next Generation of Systems Engineering both here in the U.K. and across the broader international community. Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), which is an emerging style of engineering, will be the focus for my next three years of research on a Next Generation of Systems Engineering that will be far more efficient and agile than current practises can realise. Beneficiaries of this research include the RAEng industrial partner, as well as the broader aerospace and defence community. Manufacturing and financial institutions will also benefit. Advances in requirements engineering will be amongst the first benefits to the industrial partner. This will also benefit the MOD. Most large scale systems fail because of the improper specification of requirements. A shift to models and model transformations will bring precision and agility to requirements traceability and to the implications between changes in requirements and changes in systems design. Manufacturing has been using modelling languages for many years for manufacturing specification. Modelling languages also provide an international language that supports globalisation. The western economies have a critical need for efficiency and agility in manufacturing, and so should the RAEng industrial partner. There is an obvious engineering gap that needs to be filled between system design and system specification for manufacture. The MBSE approach in this application could rightly be called 'design for manufacture'. I am also currently engaging Essex University in the U.K. and MIT in the U.S. for the purpose of creating model transformations for the Basel II reporting of banking data. This research can be part of the solution to the current banking crisis. Ensuring that the benefits from the research have impact across a broad community is a key focus of the research programme. A Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I) Laboratory has been established at Loughborough University not just for the purpose of research and but also for the purpose of engagement with the RAEng industrial partner, the academic community, and the larger international community. The SE&I Laboratory is located in the Systems Engineering Innovation Centre (SEIC). The Research Chair will also host regular workshops with the industrial partner for the purpose of exploring common research objectives. These workshops will be held at the SE&I Laboratory at the SEIC. This engagement will ensure that the research is both aligned with the industrial partner's needs and has utility. Engagement with the academic community will involve communities of interest such as the recently established IEEE International Consortium on System of Systems (ICSOS) and the proposed new EPSRC System of Systems Network. The strategy for obtaining academic research funding includes using the SE&I Laboratory to host regular workshops for the purpose of exploring common research objectives and seeking research grants. Engagement with the international community will be accomplished through my existing leadership roles as the Chair of the INCOSE Architecture Working Group and Chair of the OMG Mathematical Formalisms Special Interest Group. The work with the OMG can be expected to generate international specifications for the development of commercial tools for the practise of Architecture and Systems Engineering.
Description A general systems methodology and mathematical framework has been developed which provides a rigorous basis for systems engineering. This has led to discovery of gaps and inconsistencies in the legacy quality function framework. The new framework provides a common structure for modelling and simulation and system architecture, design, and verification.
Exploitation Route Aerospace, automotive and marine original equipment manufacturers (OEM) can use the methodology and framework for improved concurrency and concordance system design and verification using simulation.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine

Description Outputs of this research were used by a U.K. original equipment manufacturer to improve competitive edge in foreign sales.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Impact Types Economic

Description EPSRC
Amount £2,300,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/K014226/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2013 
End 03/2018
Description BAE Systems flight training systems of systems 
Organisation BAE Systems
Department BAE Systems Military Air & Information
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution My research team has developed a model based decision support system for selection of a best fit for purpose flight training system of systems.
Collaborator Contribution The industrial partner has borught us access engineering data that gives our academic research the potential for high academic impact.
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary collaboration involving aerospace and electronic systems. The outputs have been 1 journal article and 1 conference as called out in my publications.
Start Year 2011
Description Georgia Institute of Technology collaboration on ROSETTA 
Organisation Georgia Institute of Technology
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The contribution made by me and my research team has been the collaborative development of an innovative advanced framework for systems engineering refered to as ROSETTA. The output has been 2 joint conference papers, 1 journal article and 1 book with me as the lead author.
Collaborator Contribution The contribution made by my partner includes the above plus 1 journal article with Dimitri Mavris at the Georgia Institute of Technology as the lead author.
Impact The outputs of the collaboration are noted above are called out in my list of publications (co-authored with Dimitri Mavris). The collaboration is multi-disciplinary, specifically: systems engineering and aersospace engineering.
Start Year 2009
Description MIT collaboration on model transformation 
Organisation Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution My collaboration with Ricardo Vaerdi at MIT was in the application of model transformation to requirements traceability.
Collaborator Contribution See the description of my contributions.
Impact The output of this collaboration was a conference paper as called out in my publications outputs.
Start Year 2009
Title Apparatus and method for dynamic web service discovery 
Description An apparatus and method is provided to dynamically search for available Web services by persistently searching a distributed multi-level UDDI registry chain, interrogating their published technical specifications and enabling the consumer to find, bind, and invoke the desired Web service in real-time and without intervention by the consumer. The search criteria includes identifying candidate published services that fall within an acceptable margin of error based on information previously published within a consumer service profile. The measure of conformance between the registry semantic map and consumer service profile is parameterized and chosen by the consumer in advance. The service profile includes an XML schema which exposes consumer profile metadata and corresponding information sets used by a rules engine for pattern matching purposes. 
IP Reference US7987163 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2011
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact BAE systems used this patent to protect their interest in developing and marketing service oriented discovery systems.