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Systems, Volume 7, Issue 3 (September 2019)

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Open AccessArticle
A Multi-Methodology Approach to Creating a Causal Loop Diagram
Systems 2019, 7(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems7030042 (registering DOI)
Received: 7 May 2019 / Revised: 3 June 2019 / Accepted: 15 August 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
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Abstract
Developing causal loop diagrams (CLDs) involves identifying stakeholders and endogenous variables and formulating variable causal relationships. Traditionally, the CLDs are developed mainly using a qualitative approach such as literature review, observations and interviews with stakeholders. However, modellers may question which stakeholders should be [...] Read more.
Developing causal loop diagrams (CLDs) involves identifying stakeholders and endogenous variables and formulating variable causal relationships. Traditionally, the CLDs are developed mainly using a qualitative approach such as literature review, observations and interviews with stakeholders. However, modellers may question which stakeholders should be approached, whether the relevant variables are selected, and what to do when stakeholders perceive different variable relationships in the CLDs differently. Applying in a case study, this research proposes a multi-method approach by combining both quantitative and qualitative methods to select stakeholders, identify endogenous/exogenous variables, and develop the CLDs. The proposed quantitative method is expected to provide modellers with a justifiable stakeholder and variable selection process. The method also highlights possible hidden variables and relationships, which were further explored with a traditional qualitative approach. Full article
Open AccessCommunication
A Systems Approach to Establishing an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Institute
Systems 2019, 7(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems7030041 (registering DOI)
Received: 30 June 2019 / Revised: 9 August 2019 / Accepted: 13 August 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
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Abstract
Systems engineering is a methodology where an interdisciplinary approach is applied, using systems thinking, to the development of a system of interest. The systems engineering discipline has emerged as an effective way to guide the engineering of complex systems, but has been applied [...] Read more.
Systems engineering is a methodology where an interdisciplinary approach is applied, using systems thinking, to the development of a system of interest. The systems engineering discipline has emerged as an effective way to guide the engineering of complex systems, but has been applied most readily in the realm of cyber physical systems. In some circles of the Federal Government, the mention of systems engineering processes immediately leads people to think of a long, inefficient effort due to an often applied bureaucratic approach, where the focus is on documentation rather than the development of the system of interest, which comes from a view that the product of the systems engineering effort is the document, not the system itself. In this paper, the authors describe the application of systems thinking and the systems engineering process to the design and creation of an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII, part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation) established under Department of Defense (DoD) authority for the Office of the President, that was swift, efficient, and implemented without formality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Research Design and Major Issues in Developing Dynamic Theories by Secondary Analysis of Qualitative Data
Received: 11 June 2019 / Revised: 7 August 2019 / Accepted: 9 August 2019 / Published: 15 August 2019
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Abstract
This article discusses the use of the Grounded Theory approach to the analysis of qualitative data to develop dynamic theories. The main objective of the article is to explore the major issues in bringing Grounded Theory and System Dynamics approaches together. The discussion [...] Read more.
This article discusses the use of the Grounded Theory approach to the analysis of qualitative data to develop dynamic theories. The main objective of the article is to explore the major issues in bringing Grounded Theory and System Dynamics approaches together. The discussion employs an example of secondary analysis of qualitative data as a mixed-method research design for System Dynamics researchers. Findings from this example are organized in a table by research stages. Some of the reported major issues have divided researchers in their fields, such as the theoretical sensitivity issue in the Grounded Theory field and the qualitative and quantitative modeling issue in the System Dynamics field. Other major issues, such as the nature and richness of the dataset, can limit the data analysis and the research outputs. Researchers using the mixed-method should address these issues, and the present article offers solutions for them. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
TRIZ for Digital Systems Engineering: New Characteristics and Principles Redefined
Received: 26 June 2019 / Revised: 25 July 2019 / Accepted: 5 August 2019 / Published: 11 August 2019
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Abstract
While innovation from the systems engineer is desirable at every step in all phases of systems engineering, there must be a methodology to evaluate alternatives. A formal methodology, complete with verification and validation of the results, was developed in 1946 by Soviet engineer [...] Read more.
While innovation from the systems engineer is desirable at every step in all phases of systems engineering, there must be a methodology to evaluate alternatives. A formal methodology, complete with verification and validation of the results, was developed in 1946 by Soviet engineer Genrikh Saulovich Altshuller and is known as “The theory of inventor’s problem solving”, or TRIZ. This approach improves the way a systems engineer’s thinking progresses about a problem’s solution from “what is” towards “what will be” in the innovative development of a solution. The original distinguishing features of systems used in TRIZ were derived from innovations addressing physical, mechanical system, and few of them apply to digital systems. This paper presents additional characteristics that should be considered in the Reduction phase when applying TRIZ to innovation in digital systems engineering and a redefinition of the principles. With the additions of these distinguishing features for digital systems, TRIZ will become an invaluable tool for the digital systems engineer. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Systems Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
The Naval Postgraduate School’s Department of Systems Engineering Approach to Mission Engineering Education through Capstone Projects
Received: 1 July 2019 / Revised: 31 July 2019 / Accepted: 1 August 2019 / Published: 4 August 2019
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Abstract
This article presents an educational approach to applied capstone research projects using a mission engineering focus. It reviews recent advances in mission engineering within the Department of Defense and integrates that work into an approach for research within the Systems Engineering Department at [...] Read more.
This article presents an educational approach to applied capstone research projects using a mission engineering focus. It reviews recent advances in mission engineering within the Department of Defense and integrates that work into an approach for research within the Systems Engineering Department at the Naval Postgraduate School. A generalized sequence of System Definition, System Modeling, and System Analysis is presented as an executable sequence of activities to support analysis of operational missions within a student research project at Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). That approach is detailed and demonstrated through analysis of the integration of a long-range strike capability on a MH-60S helicopter. The article serves as a demonstration of an approach for producing operationally applicable results from student projects in the context of mission engineering. Specifically, it demonstrates that students can execute a systems engineering project that conducts system-level design with direct consideration of mission impacts at the system of systems level. Discussion of the benefits and limitations of this approach are discussed and suggestions for integrating mission engineering into capstone courses are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mission Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Agent-Based Simulation of Hardware-Intensive Design Teams Using the Function–Behavior–Structure Framework
Received: 25 June 2019 / Revised: 19 July 2019 / Accepted: 22 July 2019 / Published: 24 July 2019
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Abstract
Agile processes have been used in software development, with many case studies indicating positive changes in productivity when these processes are used. Agile processes are beginning to be applied to work beyond software-centric systems. There does not yet exist a diverse set of [...] Read more.
Agile processes have been used in software development, with many case studies indicating positive changes in productivity when these processes are used. Agile processes are beginning to be applied to work beyond software-centric systems. There does not yet exist a diverse set of studies on the effectiveness of Agile processes on hardware-intensive systems. The research in this article applies a modeling and simulation-based approach which uses the function–behavior–structure framework to evaluate the effectiveness of waterfall and Agile processes. The simulation was validated against case studies of software-centric design efforts. When applied to a space launch vehicle—a highly coupled, hardware-intensive system—the simulation shows that the benefits of Agile may not be as great as those seen with software-intensive systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Systems Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Theory in Emancipative Action: Aligning Action Research in Information Systems Education with Critical Social Research in Information Systems
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 12 July 2019 / Accepted: 16 July 2019 / Published: 22 July 2019
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Abstract
As educators, we want to guide our students so that they develop to the best of their ability and are emancipated. As researchers in education, we often use action research. We use proven theories to guide our intervention to emancipate our students. Or [...] Read more.
As educators, we want to guide our students so that they develop to the best of their ability and are emancipated. As researchers in education, we often use action research. We use proven theories to guide our intervention to emancipate our students. Or do we? Recently, prominent information systems journals have published few papers in the field of information systems education. We demonstrate that the guidelines for action research from a critical social research perspective in information systems are not evident in action research studies in information systems education. The emancipative goals of pure critical social research and reliance on critical social theory to guide our intervention are lacking in these educational studies. Our aim is to provide alignment between educational action research in information systems and information systems research conducted from a critical social theory perspective. Our methodology is to explicitly propose phases of action research from a critical social research perspective, grounded both in information systems and education literature. Then, we demonstrate the value of this approach in a study on the improvement of a data warehousing module. We conclude that by using proven theories and reflecting on the presuppositions in a problem environment, the researcher is able to guide the development of students and the community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Systems Sciences 2018)
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Open AccessEditorial
Introduction to the Special Issue “Artificial Intelligence Knowledge Representation”
Received: 11 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 22 July 2019
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Abstract
A guest editorial could have been written when this Special Issue was first announced, to stimulate submissions and guide prospect authors, yet writing it closer to the deadline (together with the deadline extension announcement) makes it possible to highlight recent developments which have [...] Read more.
A guest editorial could have been written when this Special Issue was first announced, to stimulate submissions and guide prospect authors, yet writing it closer to the deadline (together with the deadline extension announcement) makes it possible to highlight recent developments which have happened since [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Intelligence Knowledge Representation)
Open AccessCommunication
Sustainability Assessment of Asset Management Decisions for Wastewater Infrastructure Systems—Implementation of a System Dynamics Model
Received: 5 May 2019 / Revised: 26 June 2019 / Accepted: 5 July 2019 / Published: 10 July 2019
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Abstract
The goal of this case study is to demonstrate the application and utility of a developed System Dynamics (SD) model to assess the sustainability of strategic decisions for managing the wastewater collection (WWC) pipe network system for a medium-size municipality in Southern Ontario. [...] Read more.
The goal of this case study is to demonstrate the application and utility of a developed System Dynamics (SD) model to assess the sustainability of strategic decisions for managing the wastewater collection (WWC) pipe network system for a medium-size municipality in Southern Ontario. Two asset management scenarios, suggested by the research-partnered municipality, are adapted based on the acceptable maximum fraction of pipes in the worst condition (ICG5) being equal to (1) 10% of the network-length/year, and (2) the initial 2.8% of network-length/year for the entire life cycle of the asset. The urban densification scenarios are restricted to a 50% urban densification rate. The least maximum rehabilitation rates of 1.41% and 1.85% of network length/year are found necessary to keep the ICG5 pipes fractions below the selected 10% and 2.8% thresholds, respectively. The maximum and minimum user fee-hike rates for WWC and wastewater treatment (WWT) services are adjusted to support the financial self-sustainability aspect. Results from the SD model, as presented over a 100 year simulation period, show that an accelerated rehabilitation strategy will have a lower financial cost with the lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This study highlights the implications of integrating asset management of wastewater-collection and -treatment systems. Applying such an integrated SD model will help decision makers to forecast the future trends related to social, economic, and environmental performances of wastewater infrastructure systems, and evaluate the behavior of interrelated and complex WWC and WWT systems to find synergistic cost-saving opportunities while at the same time improve sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Review of Kalman Filter Employment in the NAIRU Estimation
Received: 15 May 2019 / Revised: 23 June 2019 / Accepted: 25 June 2019 / Published: 28 June 2019
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Abstract
The aim of the paper is to provide a recent overview of Kalman filter employment in the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU) estimation. The NAIRU plays a key part in an economic system. A certain unemployment rate which is consistent with a [...] Read more.
The aim of the paper is to provide a recent overview of Kalman filter employment in the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU) estimation. The NAIRU plays a key part in an economic system. A certain unemployment rate which is consistent with a stable rate of inflation is one of the conditions for economic system stability. Since the NAIRU cannot be directly observed and measured, it is one of the most fitting problems for the Kalman filter application. The search for original, NAIRU focused and Kalman filter employment studies was performed in three scientific databases: Web of Science, Scopus, and ScienceDirect. A sample of 152 papers was narrowed down to 25 studies, which were described in greater detail regarding the focus, methods, model features, limitations, and other characteristics. A group of studies using a purely statistical approach of decomposing unemployment into a trend and cyclical component was identified. The next group uses the reduced-form approach which is sometimes combined with statistical decomposition. In such cases, the models are usually based on the backward-looking Phillips curve. Nevertheless, the forward-looking, New Keynesian or rarely hybrid New Keynesian variant can also be encountered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mathematical Models of Economic Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
From Mosaic to Systemic Redux: The Conceptual Foundation of Resilience and Its Operational Implications for Water Resource Management
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 20 June 2019 / Accepted: 22 June 2019 / Published: 26 June 2019
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Abstract
Preserving and enhancing the resilience of water supply systems is an important goal for managers to help ensure the ongoing availability of a resource necessary to both economic activity and basic survival. If not explicitly identified as a goal, it can be inferred [...] Read more.
Preserving and enhancing the resilience of water supply systems is an important goal for managers to help ensure the ongoing availability of a resource necessary to both economic activity and basic survival. If not explicitly identified as a goal, it can be inferred from the desire to preserve water supply against a variety of stressors for current and future generations. Pursuing resilience is less than straightforward as there are multiple concurrent theoretical paradigms. Furthermore, operationalizing even one of these can be challenging. The authors survey several dominant paradigms with an eye towards distilling the essential, combinative properties of resilience. The contention underwriting this approach is that each paradigm yields important insights about resilience as a complex, emergent system characteristic. This survey lays the foundation for the operationalized approach that is the central thrust of the paper. Specifically, the authors develop an equation based on these properties and identify water resource metrics that correspond to each property. The analysis concludes with a preliminary causal loop diagram intended to capture key system variables and relationships between them. The authors argue that a systemic, conceptually robust approach to resilience is necessary to (1) assess current levels, and (2) improve levels of water resource system resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Systems Sciences 2018)
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