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Systems, Volume 6, Issue 4 (December 2018)

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Open AccessArticle Toward an Interoperability and Integration Framework to Enable Digital Thread
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 18 December 2018
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Abstract
This article discusses ongoing research investigating the feasibility of supporting an interoperability and integration framework to enable the digital thread, or an authoritative source of truth with current technology. The question that initiated this exploratory research was, “Is there current technology that can
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This article discusses ongoing research investigating the feasibility of supporting an interoperability and integration framework to enable the digital thread, or an authoritative source of truth with current technology. The question that initiated this exploratory research was, “Is there current technology that can enable cross-domain digital artifact data sharing needed for the digital thread?” A thorough review and investigation of current state-of-the-art model-based systems engineering was performed by reviewing literature and performing multiple site visits and interviews with organizations at the forefront of digital engineering. After this initial investigation and review, a Semantic Web-enabled framework that would allow data in the thread to be captured, stored, transferred, checked for completeness and consistency, and changed under revision change control management began to be formed. This framework has gone through revisions. This paper reflects the most current demonstration of the framework and its capability of acquiring digital data, and parsing and querying the data using Semantic Web technology to generate a decision table that allows the decision data to be visualized. The article concludes with future demonstrations of the framework to further advance toward a framework that can enable a digital thread in practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model-Based Systems Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Early Design Space Exploration with Model-Based System Engineering and Set-Based Design
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 17 December 2018
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Abstract
Adequately exploring the tradespace in the early system design phase is important to determine the best design concepts to pursue in the next life cycle stage. Tradespace exploration (TSE) often uses trade-off analysis. Set-based design (SBD) methods, compared to traditional point-based design, explore
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Adequately exploring the tradespace in the early system design phase is important to determine the best design concepts to pursue in the next life cycle stage. Tradespace exploration (TSE) often uses trade-off analysis. Set-based design (SBD) methods, compared to traditional point-based design, explore significantly more designs. An integrated framework with model-based system engineering (MBSE) and a life cycle cost model enables design evaluation in near real-time. This study proposes an early design phase SBD methodology and demonstrates how SBD enabled by an integrated framework with MBSE and life cycle cost provides an enhanced TSE that can inform system design requirements and help decision makers select high performing designs at an affordable cost. Specifically, this paper (1) provides an overview of TSE and SBD, (2) describes the Integrated Trade-off Analysis Framework, (3) describes a methodology to implement SBD in the early design phase, and (4) demonstrates the techniques using an unmanned aerial vehicle case study. We found that the Integrated Trade-off Analysis Framework informs requirement development based upon how the requirements affect the feasible tradespace. Additionally, the integrated framework that uses SBD better explores the design space compared to traditional methods by finding a larger set of feasible designs early in the design process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model-Based Systems Engineering)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Architectural Framework for Exploring Adaptive Human-Machine Teaming Options in Simulated Dynamic Environments
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
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Abstract
With the growing complexity of environments in which systems are expected to operate, adaptive human-machine teaming (HMT) has emerged as a key area of research. While human teams have been extensively studied in the psychological and training literature, and agent teams have been
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With the growing complexity of environments in which systems are expected to operate, adaptive human-machine teaming (HMT) has emerged as a key area of research. While human teams have been extensively studied in the psychological and training literature, and agent teams have been investigated in the artificial intelligence research community, the commitment to research in HMT is relatively new and fueled by several technological advances such as electrophysiological sensors, cognitive modeling, machine learning, and adaptive/adaptable human-machine systems. This paper presents an architectural framework for investigating HMT options in various simulated operational contexts including responding to systemic failures and external disruptions. The paper specifically discusses new and novel roles for machines made possible by new technology and offers key insights into adaptive human-machine teams. Landed aircraft perimeter security is used as an illustrative example of an adaptive cyber-physical-human system (CPHS). This example is used to illuminate the use of the HMT framework in identifying the different human and machine roles involved in this scenario. The framework is domain-independent and can be applied to both defense and civilian adaptive HMT. The paper concludes with recommendations for advancing the state-of-the-art in HMT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model-Based Systems Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Could Education for Sustainable Development Benefit from a Systems Thinking Approach?
Received: 12 November 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
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Abstract
Sustainable development is not a novel concept. However, we continue with our unsustainable way of living. It is as though we cannot see our own part in the unsustainable system. Values, ethics and morals are connected to education and therefor education is in
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Sustainable development is not a novel concept. However, we continue with our unsustainable way of living. It is as though we cannot see our own part in the unsustainable system. Values, ethics and morals are connected to education and therefor education is in a key position to change the way we think and act for a sustainable future. Both education for sustainable development (ESD) and systems thinking are concepts connected to changes toward a sustainable future. However, they have proven to be conceptually problematic and are characterized by their complexity, making implementation more difficult. The purpose of this study is to discover whether it could be possible to interlace ESD and systems education to a strong and solid entirety in order to overcome the obstacles preventing the implementation of sustainability in education. This is done through a literature review in the fields of systems thinking and ESD. The literature review identifies two joint approaches that could be worth exploring more in order to develop an excellent instrument in the educational work toward sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Thinking)
Open AccessArticle Conceptualizing Shadow IT Integration Drawbacks from a Systemic Viewpoint
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 23 November 2018 / Accepted: 29 November 2018 / Published: 3 December 2018
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Abstract
Business units are increasingly able to fuel the transformation that digitalization demands of organizations. Thereby, they can implement Shadow IT (SIT) without involving a central IT department to create flexible and innovative solutions. Self-reinforcing effects lead to an intertwinement of SIT with the
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Business units are increasingly able to fuel the transformation that digitalization demands of organizations. Thereby, they can implement Shadow IT (SIT) without involving a central IT department to create flexible and innovative solutions. Self-reinforcing effects lead to an intertwinement of SIT with the organization. As a result, high complexities, redundancies, and sometimes even lock-ins occur. IT Integration suggests itself to meet these challenges. However, it can also eliminate the benefits that SIT presents. To help organizations in this area of conflict, we are conducting a literature review including a systematic search and an analysis from a systemic viewpoint using path dependency and switching costs. Our resulting conceptual framework for SIT integration drawbacks classifies the drawbacks into three dimensions. The first dimension consists of switching costs that account for the financial, procedural, and emotional drawbacks and the drawbacks from a loss of SIT benefits. The second dimension includes organizational, technical, and level-spanning criteria. The third dimension classifies the drawbacks into the global level, the local level, and the interaction between them. We contribute to the scientific discussion by introducing a systemic viewpoint to the research on shadow IT. Practitioners can use the presented criteria to collect evidence to reach an IT integration decision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Thinking)
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Open AccessArticle Close the Loop! System Dynamics Modelling in Service Design
Received: 18 August 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
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Abstract
Service design is a thought process using creativity, empathy in responding to a customer’s need and rationality in an analysis of a recommended, innovative solution. In this paper, we propose a research methods system which enables designers to integrate design and systems thinking
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Service design is a thought process using creativity, empathy in responding to a customer’s need and rationality in an analysis of a recommended, innovative solution. In this paper, we propose a research methods system which enables designers to integrate design and systems thinking into a system dynamics model of a creative project. Based on these research methods, topics and problems can be detected, and solutions can be proposed. The communicative game “Close the Loop!” which uses elements of visual language, and modifies the Grounded Theory method and its three processes: open coding, axial coding, and selective coding. The aim of the game is to create a Causal Loop Diagram which expresses a dynamic hypothesis, a Stock and Flow Diagram, which solves the problem visually and follows the Causal Loop Diagram. The accuracy of this set of method is demonstrated by its application in a case study from the service area. The article is intended for researchers who endeavour to use research methods in order to improve their services and meet a customer’s requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Factors in Complex Systems)
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Open AccessArticle MBSE with/out Simulation: State of the Art and Way Forward
Received: 11 October 2018 / Revised: 7 November 2018 / Accepted: 9 November 2018 / Published: 15 November 2018
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Abstract
The limitations of model-based support for engineering complex systems include limited capability to develop multifaceted models as well as their analysis with robust reliable simulation engines. Lack of such Modeling and Simulation (M&S) infrastructure leads to knowledge gaps in engineering such complex systems
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The limitations of model-based support for engineering complex systems include limited capability to develop multifaceted models as well as their analysis with robust reliable simulation engines. Lack of such Modeling and Simulation (M&S) infrastructure leads to knowledge gaps in engineering such complex systems and these gaps appear as epistemological emergent behaviors. In response, an initiative is underway to bring Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) closer together with model-based simulation developments. M&S represents a core capability and is needed to address today’s complex, adaptive, systems of systems engineering challenges. This paper considers the problems raised by MBSE taken as a modeling activity without the support of full strength integrated simulation capability and the potential for, and possible forms of, closer integration between the two streams. An example of a system engineering application, an unmanned vehicle fleet providing emergency ambulance service, is examined as an application of the kind of multifaceted M&S methodology required to effectively deal with such systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model-Based Systems Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Supporting Advances in Human-Systems Coordination through Simulation of Diverse, Distributed Expertise
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 20 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 30 October 2018
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Abstract
Distributed expertise task environments represent a critical, but challenging, area of team performance. As teams work together to perform complex tasks, they share much information and expertise to efficiently and effectively coordinate activities. Information coordination and alignment is affected by many factors, including
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Distributed expertise task environments represent a critical, but challenging, area of team performance. As teams work together to perform complex tasks, they share much information and expertise to efficiently and effectively coordinate activities. Information coordination and alignment is affected by many factors, including communication styles and distributions of domain and interaction expertise. This study was part of a series of work performed in the authors’ lab to explore feasibility of using software simulation methods as a complement to other human factors methods to explore information alignment in teams. More specifically, this study aimed to operationalize specific parameters identified in group dynamics, management, and cognitive psychology literatures. Such research can provide an operationalized model that incorporates some of these key factors in information alignment and how these factors impact overall task performance of teams in complex environments. Simulation methods were applied to explore time-based performance outcomes. Model convergence and functionality were established through a series of model-based statistical analyses, which can be later validated with supplementary field studies. Results indicate that this style of simulation modeling is feasible, and provides directions for additional examination of factors affecting team configuration, process, and performance in complex systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Factors in Complex Systems)
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Open AccessArticle The Smart Factory and Its Risks
Received: 10 October 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 26 October 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, the risks of a Smart Factory are to be examined and structured in order to be able to evaluate the status of the Smart Factory. This thesis thus serves as an overview of the technical components of a Smart Factory
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In this paper, the risks of a Smart Factory are to be examined and structured in order to be able to evaluate the status of the Smart Factory. This thesis thus serves as an overview of the technical components of a Smart Factory and the associated risks. The study takes a holistic view of the smart factory. The results show that the greatest need for action lies in the technological field. Thus, the topics of standardization, information security, availability of IT infrastructure, availability of fast internet and complex systems were prioritized. The organizational and financial risks, which also play an important role in a Smart Factory transformation, are addressed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Utility Perception in System Dynamics Models
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 13 September 2018 / Accepted: 26 September 2018 / Published: 28 September 2018
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Abstract
The utility perceived by individuals is believed to be different from the utility experienced by that individual. System dynamicists implicitly categorize this phenomenon as a form of bounded rationality, and traditionally employ an exponential smoothing function to capture it. We challenge this generalization
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The utility perceived by individuals is believed to be different from the utility experienced by that individual. System dynamicists implicitly categorize this phenomenon as a form of bounded rationality, and traditionally employ an exponential smoothing function to capture it. We challenge this generalization by testing it against an alternative formulation of utility perception that is suggested by modern theories of behavioral sciences. In particular, the traditional smoothing formulation is compared with the peak–end rule in a simple theoretical model as well as in a medium-size model of electronic health records implementation. Experimentation with the models reveals that the way in which utility perception is formulated is important, and is likely to affect behavior and policy implications of system dynamics models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theory and Practice in System Dynamics Modelling)
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Open AccessArticle Communities of Practice Approach for Knowledge Management Systems
Received: 26 August 2018 / Revised: 23 September 2018 / Accepted: 24 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
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Abstract
In this digital world, organisations are facing global competition as well as manpower pressures leading towards the knowledge economy, which heavily impacts on their local and international businesses. The trend is to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing to cope with these problems. With
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In this digital world, organisations are facing global competition as well as manpower pressures leading towards the knowledge economy, which heavily impacts on their local and international businesses. The trend is to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing to cope with these problems. With the advancement of technologies and social engineering that can connect people in the virtual world across time and distance, several organisations are embarking on knowledge management (KM) systems, implementing a community of practice (CoP) approach. However, virtual communities are relatively new paradigms, and there are several challenges to their successful implementation from an organisation’s point of interest. There is lack of CoP implementation framework that can cater to today’s dynamic business and sustainability requirements. To fill the gap in literature, this paper develops a practical framework for a CoP implementation with a view to align KM strategy with business strategy of an organization. It explores the different steps of building, sharing, and using tacit and explicit knowledge in CoPs by applying the Wiig KM cycle. It proposes a practical CoP implementation framework that adopts the Benefits, Tools, Organisation, People and Process (BTOPP) model in addressing the key questions surrounding each of the BTOPP elements with a structured approach. Finally, it identifies key challenges such as organizational culture and performance measurements, and provides practical recommendations to overcome them for a successful CoP implementation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Strategic Management for Systems Archetypes in the Piggery Industry of Ghana—A Systems Thinking Perspective
Received: 18 May 2018 / Revised: 10 September 2018 / Accepted: 12 September 2018 / Published: 26 September 2018
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Abstract
Ghana is predominantly an agricultural country with a clear majority of its population depending partly or fully on agriculture for their livelihoods. Pork consumption in Ghana is on the increase and the livestock industry is a key sector of alternative agri-business for farmers
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Ghana is predominantly an agricultural country with a clear majority of its population depending partly or fully on agriculture for their livelihoods. Pork consumption in Ghana is on the increase and the livestock industry is a key sector of alternative agri-business for farmers looking for profitable business ventures and household income. The growth of Ghana’s domestic piggery industry has been impeded by several constraints such as inadequate information, lack of improved breeding stock, land limitations, rising feed cost and water availability. In this research, systems models provide an understanding of the interconnectedness and relationships present within the piggery industry of Ghana. The Industry’s problems were pooled together and key factors identified, whose behavior over time causes problems by developing various individual two-loop system archetypes coupled with a list of sustainable management strategies. Also, the individual variables affecting the industry were consolidated to obtain a causal loop structure and behavior-over-time graph of the piggery industry. The system archetype developed here is generic enough to explain any productivity decline and business rivalry behavior of any agribusiness industry. The proposed archetype can also help farm managers and producers to make various decisions. The system archetypes contribute effectively to understanding the root cause of challenges rather than providing quick fixes ‘now’ which gives rise to a much bigger problem to fix ‘later’. Application of CLDs models and system archetypes can help farmers and policy makers understand the behaviour of the entire complex piggery systems that will aid in more clarity and consistency in decisions and policy objectives. This will close the gap of inadequate information both to farmers and policy makers and governance. Through the archetypes and the CLDs, it has been identified that using a systemic approach in addressing the problems could lead to the provision of adequate data and management strategies for effective decision making for improving the piggery/livestock industry. Full article
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