Model-Based Systems Engineering Overview

This section provides an overview of Model-Based Systems Engineering technologies, including a formal definition and information about MBSE core concepts, origins, characteristics, enabling technologies, and variations.

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MBSE Synopsis

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)
Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is a Systems Engineering paradigm that emphasizes the application of rigorous visual modeling principles and best practices to Systems Engineering activities throughout the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC). These Systems Engineering activities include, but are not limited to: requirements analysis, validation and verification; functional analysis and allocations; performance analysis and trade studies; and system architecture specification.

Usage Note: The term Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is especially popular among Systems Engineers who advocate the use of the Systems Modeling Language (SysML) as a standard visual architecture modeling language for Systems Engineering applications, and who want to distinguish their approach from Model-Driven Development and its variants, which tend to be software centric.
a.k.a. Model-Based Systems Development (MBSD)
Process Classification:
System Development Paradigms Model-Based Engineering Model-Based Systems Engineering
Core Concepts:
An Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) approach must strive to achieve the following process goals:

• Architecture-centric: The MBSE process must emphasize a system architecture model as the primary work artifact throughout the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
• Full SDLC support: The MBSE process must support all SDLC phases, Requirements, System Analysis, System Design, Implementation, System Integration, and Testing
• Requirements-driven & full V&V support: The MBSE process must support full SDLC requirements traceability, including comprehensive Verification & Validation of all functional and non-functional requirements.

In addition, it is desirable that an MBSE approach achieve the following process goals:

• Straightforward & systematic: The MBSE process should be explained in a straightforward and systematic manner, so that it is easy for Systems Engineers to learn and apply.
Promote the use of open standards: The MBSE process should support open standards for system architecture modeling and tool interoperability. These open standards include, but are not limited to SysML, UML 2, XMI, and AP233. These open standards should be used to specify the System Architecture Model and to serve as a lingua franca among Systems Engineers and other stakeholders (Software Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Customers, etc.).
Process Origin:
Model-based specification and simulation techniques have been associated with Systems Engineering since its inception as an interdisciplinary field of engineering, which can be traced to work at Bell Telephone Laboratories and US Department of Defense (DoD) during the 1940s

The term Model-Based Systems Engineering became popular during the standardization of the Systems Modeling Language (SysML), which was created by the SysML Partners consortium during 2003-2005. The SysML Partners published the SysML 1.0 alpha open source specification in November 2005, and the Object Management Group adopted a variation as OMG SysML 1.0 in 2006. The standardization of SysML resulted in widespread tool support for the new visual language standard and associated MBSE processes.
Process Characteristics:
• General purpose?
• Promotes open standards?
• Rigorous?
• Scaleable?
• Supports Agile or Lean processes?
• Automated tool support?
[Can be applied to any System or System-of-Systems]
[Not rigorously enforced, but encouraged]
[Must be applied in a rigorous manner.]
[Can scale for projects with 100+ engineers.]
[Must be adapted for Agile + Lean methods.]
[Must select MBSE modeling tool that supports automation.]
Enabling Technologies:
Model-Based Languages: SysML, OMG SysML, UML 2 …
Model-Based Architecture Frameworks: DoDAF, UPDM, ...
• Model-Based Tools: See MBSE.Tools
Process Usages:
• Primary Users: Systems Engineers
• Other Users: Software Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, …
Estimated Number of Users: N/A
Process Variations:
Unified Process & variants (Open Unified Process, Rational Unified Process, ...), Harmony-SE, ...

OMG SYSML, UML, and UNIFIED MODELING LANGUAGE are trademarks of the Object Management Group. All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective companies.