Model-Based Systems Engineering – Measuring Success

Today’s blog post is a continuation of a series on Systems Engineering for Smart Products. Remember the old Xerox commercial featuring a monk tasked with making 500 copies of a multi-page, handwritten document? Well, fast forward to 2014 and replace the monk with a systems engineer verifying hundreds of requirements against a textual-based description of a product, and you have a typical scene playing out across many engineering enterprises. Continue reading

Data-Based Model-based System Engineering: Interface Control Documents Management with ANSYS SCADE System

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Pictures, or model-based designs, as engineers refer to them, provide a natural means of communication. With the newest release of ANSYS SCADE System 15.2, systems engineers can use models and interface control documents (ICDs), rather than text files and long lists of data, to create and manage their systems designs.

However, when precision and complexity come forth, “data dictionaries” enter the game. A dictionary is a way to manage information in an exhaustive way but without the model, it’s not easy to get an overview of your system. The issue you’re then faced with is the consistency between the model and the dictionaries — if inconsistent, the situation is worse than without the model. Continue reading

Embedded Systems and Highly-Skilled Engineers

Take five minutes and think about what you did today and you’ll see that embedded systems are everywhere. Let me show you what I mean.

SCADE Solutions for Academics - embedded systemsYou woke up, turned on your coffee machine, and got ready for work. Then maybe you took your car, the metro, the train or possibly the plane. Arrived at the office. Now you are using your computer, whose energy comes from maybe nuclear, solar or hydraulic resources. You are sitting on your chair in front of your desk, both transported to your country by ship. And if you look up through the window, for sure there is one satellite screening your area at the moment. Do you know that all these devices, from your coffee machine, to your car, the electrical plants and satellites, function thanks to the embedded code that defines their actions? Continue reading

Deploying Model-Based Systems Engineering within the Enterprise

systems engineering imageToday’s blog post is a continuation of a series on Systems Engineering for Smart Products. In my previous posting, I described how traditional systems engineering has evolved to model-based systems engineering (MBSE), in which the authoritative system definition no longer resides in a set of static text-based design documents, but rather in a dynamic model.

While the benefits of MBSE have been extensively documented, there has been little guidance on how to successfully deploy MBSE within an engineering enterprise. Through engagements with many A&D, automotive and energy companies, we have identified the following success factors. Continue reading

Get Ready for Mobility with SCADE

In my last blog, I talked about the ability to control human–machine interfaces (HMIs) through mobile devices. The SCADE model-based embedded software suite features the automatic, one-click, generation of HMI executable applications from a single model over a variety of targets, including Android or iOS tablets and other similar devices. Here’s how it all comes together.

The code generated out of SCADE models is fundamentally independent from the target platform ― whether it is the hardware and associated drivers or the operating system ― as no system calls are being performed in this generated code. The portability of SCADE HMI models as executable applications is, thus, greatly facilitated, as the needs for adaptation then reside only in the main execution and interaction loops, or in the windowing system management. The always-wider adoption of international standards like OpenGL (for drawings) EGL (as the associated windowing system) also facilitates this task. Continue reading

Systems Engineering for Smart Products

I’ve got a lot to say about Systems Engineering for Smart Products, so this is the first in a series of blogs. In nearly every industry, consumers are benefiting from the evolution of smart products. These are highly-engineered, multi-functional products that interact with people and their environments in new ways to ensure our safety, improve efficiency or reduce energy consumption. Under the hood of every smart product is a complex system (or a series of subsystems) of micro-electronics, embedded software and advanced sensor technology that have to operate in unison to measure operating conditions, predict future events, communicate with other devices, and respond to changes faster and more accurately.

Engineering these systems into a commercially viable product is far from trivial. Today’s smart products have thousands of unique requirements that need to be served by a multiplicity of subsystems and components. Each component may have hundreds of design parameters and multiple interfaces that need to be engineered, verified and validated. The endless design dimensions present opportunities for innovation, as well as for design failures, which may result in recalls, lost revenue and a tarnished corporate brand. Continue reading

It’s a Mobile World ― Isn’t There an HMI App for That?

Today, mobile, tactile and multi-touch human–machine interfaces (HMIs) are making their way into embedded displays in automotive, aerospace and defense, energy and other industrial domains. The code that controls them (along with the displays) can be easily generated and controlled graphically through mobile devices. And ANSYS is working on an app for that.

Before I get to those details, let me first provide some industry perspective. Aerospace, historically conservative given how aircraft programs have endured across many years of operation, has already embraced the move to mobility. From business jets to bigger commercial airplanes, and from the cabin to the cockpit, iPad and Android tablets are used for a variety of avionics applications. Some suppliers have selected Android as their platform of choice for tactile in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems.

Another example: some platform providers select a secure Google Android-based tablet computer to combine situational awareness with communications and control for unmanned avionics systems. In that case, the goal is to secure mobile tactical edge devices on ad-hoc networks, as well as mobile devices on commercial networks, by extending certified secure operating system features to Android. Continue reading

High-speed Trains: Riding the Rails at 200 mph

high speed railHigh-speed train travel has been in the news recently due to the unfortunate accidents in France, Spain and Switzerland. Much has been discussed about the systems used in trains and how they work or don’t work in order to protect passengers as the travel at high rates of speed from one location to the other. Although, high speed rail travel is not prevalent in the United States, it is widely used as a regular form of transportation throughout the rest of the world, and despite the recent news items, it is very safe. There is always room for improvement though.

So, how do the systems used within the rail infrastructure ensure passenger safety?  There are three issues that must be considered:  speed, avoiding other trains on the track and making sure that the train travels as intended. Complex software systems in both the train control center and on-board the train control these functions, if the train is completely automated. And these systems work very well if properly implemented. For example, train control systems control the speed of the train and its “movement authority”. Just like an autopilot on a plane, the overspeed protection will not allow the train operator to exceed the designated speed for that portion of the track. Continue reading

Model-Based Systems Engineering at the Heart of SCADE System 2.0

Traditional systems engineering practices are no longer good enough to help you fully realize your smart product promise. To manage the complexities of today’s product architectures and truly understand and manage the countless dependencies across subsystems, the practice has evolved to model-based systems engineering — a concept that is the foundation of the latest ANSYS product release, SCADE System 2.0. More on that later.

Today, an accurate system definition is no longer a set of static text-based design documents, the kind that served traditional systems practices. The evolved model-based systems engineering practice consists of a living model, a model that provides a thorough understanding of the dependencies and interfaces between the various subsystems. The method represents large amounts of information in more sophisticated, interrelated ways. In addition, you can easily share and communicate models across teams. Models are more amenable to change management, and they support automated and comprehensive traceability from stakeholder requirements to implementation. Models also allow for automated verification of design rules, customized to match the methodology defined for the project. Continue reading