Systems Engineering Seminar

Systems Engineering Standards

Presented by:Harry Frisch / 592

January 13, 2004, 1:00 p.m.
Building 3 Auditorium

System Engineering Standards

The evolving need for standards for the representation and exchange of information relevant to the systems engineering process is to be explored from the birth of modern numerical analysis in 1947. By tracing key events over the past 50+ years one can see how we are presently at a point in time where the key technologies needed for the next leap forward are on the table. These technologies are now in a mature enough state to begin to finally create the “Advanced Engineering Environments” that the community has been unsuccessfully attempting to build for nearly 25 years.

Parallel to the more easily understood hardware and software capabilities needed one must also recognize that nothing works until information is unambiguously and completely communicated. Natural language communication is by definition ambiguous, incomplete and redundant. Computer sensible communication must be unambiguous, complete and non-redundant. Nay-Sayers say it can’t be done, it won’t be done, consensus is not possible, no-one will use it, its not user friendly, etc., etc., etc. Simply put – they are wrong!

The state of the art in standards based unambiguous computer sensible communication is the subject and focus of this lecture. Information, Markup and Modeling languages all exist and all support aspects of the unambiguous computer sensible communications problem. An attempt will be made to explain the niche for each, associated connectivity and how all complement the various views that one needs to take into account in the systems engineering process.

The possibilities associated with integrating this confluence of technologies will be illustrated by several slides from different organizational groups around the globe that capsulate who is doing what, why and how with this emerging technology.



Harold P. Frisch /592 joined NASA the year before John Glenn made his first flight. After 2 years at LaRC he moved to GSFC where he worked in the Guidance & Control Branch for over 30 years. His primary efforts there where to collaborate with the applied mathematics research community to find, create and infuse evolving state of the art computational methods into main-stream spacecraft multi-body control-structure dynamics and other multi-disciplinary analysis applications.

Parallel to this work and beginning in the late 70’s, he became involved with NASA’s first attempt to create an integrated engineering analysis and database management capability that would enable tool-independence, scalability and unambiguous communication. This attempt and several others over the next 30 years have all ended with a clearer vision of what is needed and the ability to see yet another to-be-created enabling technology on the horizon.

Harry is now with the systems engineering group where he is attempting to insure that NASA’s high fidelity systems and engineering design analysis interests are heard within groups seeking to develop computer sensible standards for the unambiguous representation and exchange of product characterization data and its associated metadata.

Harry is a disciple for the use of standards based information representation and exchange technology. He believes that such standards are the key-stones necessary to enable the scalable, tool-independent “Advanced Engineering Environments” that will enable product data to be unambiguously communicated, managed, archived and reused while also providing the basis for computer sensible knowledge capture, retrieval and reuse.



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