Automatic Traceability between models and requirements: The trigger for Systems Engineering Interoperability

Speaker: Juan Llorens
Venue: Tour Speaker; he gives his talk in Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Warsaw.

Latest times have seen the emergence of Model-based Systems Engineering (MBSE) [1] as a complete methodology to address the challenge of unifying the techniques, methods and tools to support the whole specification process of a system around the application of models (conceptual design, system requirements, design, analysis, verification or validation, etc.). In the context of the well-known V-lifecycle model, it means that there is a “formalized application of modeling” to support the left-hand side of this system lifecycle implying that any process, task or activity will generate different system artifacts but all of them represented as models. This approach is considered a cornerstone for the improvement of the current practice in the Systems Engineering discipline since it is expected to cover multiple modeling domains, to provide better results in terms of quality and productivity, lower risks and, in general, to support the concept of continuous and collaborative engineering easing the interaction and communication between people (engineers, project managers, quality managers, etc.).

Although MBSE represents a shifting paradigm for the development of safety critical systems, the plethora of engineering methods supported by different tools implies the need of not only easing the communication between people but also considering its application to the universe of available tools. How could we do requirements management, simulation, diagramming, documenting, information retrieval or project management without the corresponding tools or IT systems? The more complex the problems are, the more complex computer tools must be delivered, and the main reason for that is, consequently, because those computer tools are demanded to be “smarter”. Up to now, a computer tool is not human independent; it simply “acts” as smart according to its access to relevant data, information and knowledge. In order to enable a collaborative MBSE through IT systems, it is completely necessary to provide, as an example, the capability for a requirements management tool RMS to access existing system artifacts (architectural models, designs, physical models) for many purposes (traceability, quality or even inference). in one word: interoperability. To do so, different initiatives, frameworks, services and languages such as the ISO 10303 (STEP), the SysML or UML languages or the OASIS OSLC (Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration) initiative can be found. For instance, it is possible to find an OSLC-MBSE working group at OMG. Thus, while MBSE represents an ideal approach to develop complex systems, OSLC can be seen as a key enabler to equip engineering tools with the ability of exchanging data and information under common data and communication protocols.

Once the technical challenge of connecting systems, processes, activities, tasks, engineering methods, tools and people can be dramatically improved, it is possible to think on services and operations working based on a holistic view of the system. In this manner, it is possible to tackle critical activities that require this holistic view of a system such as system traceability[2]. These activities have been demonstrated as a precondition for the proper development of safety-critical systems in various domains such as aerospace, automotive, railway or health. More specifically, requirements and their traceability are considered the cornerstone for the successful development of this type of systems being a key part from the inception of the system to the validation and verification stages.
That is why in this presentation authors present a novel but in-use approach to access any system artifact content through OSLC, to represent such contents under a common representation language and to provide an operation for automatically discovery of traceability links between requirements and models. More specifically, this presentation will show how to access: 1) system requirements stored in different requirements management tools such as IBM DOORS, PTC Integrity, etc. and 2) system models represented in the SysML, FMI/FMU and Modelica languages and designed in tools such as Rhapsody, MagicDraw, Simulink, Papyrus, etc., and how to represent and automatically discover traceability links between this two types of artifacts: requirements and system models.

This work is framed in the wider challenges the company Procter and Gamble (P&G) attempts to solve in its MBSE approach for the next years with the collaboration of Modelon and The Reuse Company.

[1] INCOSE, “Systems Engineering Vision 2020,” INCOSE, Technical INCOSE-TP-2004-004-02, 2004.
[2] O. Gotel et al., “The Grand Challenge of Traceability (v1.0),” in Software and Systems Traceability, J. Cleland-Huang, O. Gotel, and A. Zisman, Eds. London: Springer London, 2012, pp. 343–409.