Center for Systems Engineering


Agile Model-Driven Systems Engineering

Digitalization and computer-aided development continue to innovate product development from requirement engineering over product design and construction to production and even during the product life cycle.

At the same time, developing cyber-physical systems (CPS) remains an interdiciplinary engineering field involving stakeholders from multiple engineering domains. So far, collaboration seems to be difficult due to a lack of commonly understood shared knowledge bases which make the benefits of the late innovations accessible to all stakeholders. Thereby, the development process remains document-based which hinders agility and reuse. Development artefacts exist as text based documents or domain-specific models such as simulation (CAE) or geometry (CAD) models. The interrelations of these models are not formalized or documented in any way: So far, the engineering process relies on unstructured and often verbal communication among document owners. By not formalizing the knowledge about these interrelations, the engineernig process is error-prone and early detection of these errors is almost impossible.

The interdisciplinary development and increasing complexity of CPS, therefore, require rigorously designed modeling languages and analyses tools in order to integrate the development of all domains effectively. Domain-Specific Languages enable to formalize interrelations between all kinds of models and other dvelopment artifacts as well as integrating the formalization process as part of the model-driven devleopment methodology. Our vision is to utilize our expertise in the fields of Software-Language Engineering Domain-Specific Languages and Semantics to define a holistic engineering approach that follows the model-driven paradigm and enhances efficiency, agility and reuse. This enables interdiciplinary collaboration among all stakeholders and, ultimately, faster product innovation.

Within the Center for Systems Engineering (CSE), SE collaborates with the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) and the Institute for Machine Elements and Systems Engineering (iMSE) at the RWTH Aachen University as well as a broad range of companies from the automotive, wind energy, software and supplier industries. Our research therein focuses on engineering methodologies, modeling languages, analyses tools for CPS-Engineering. Our research topics and contributions are detailed here. To find out more about initiators and mission of the CSE or to become a part of our interdisciplinary research, please have a look at the CSE Website.



SE-Research on Systems Engineering

Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) have created a broad research field at SE in recent years. By means of abstraction, models allow to cope with the complexity of CPS while automated model analyses enable automation and thereby agile development. Our research on modeling CPS is summarized here.

Agile Model-Based Software Engineering

Engineering software by following the model-driven paradigm allows engineers of all domains to formalize their development contribution intuitively. The formality of the models in turn allows to automize cumbersome, repetitive development tasks which enables developers to focus on creating innovations. Find out more about our research on Agile-Model Based Software Engineering. Formal models further enable Generative Software Engineering.

In the distributed, multi-steakholder development of CPS, the landscape of models and languages will inherently be heterogeneous. Find out more about our research on composable and modular languages and models here.

The variety of artefacts in large development projects is already challenging to keep under control. Deliberate model-based artefact handling, is therefore a crucial topic when it comes to engineering CPS. Find out about our contributions on Artifacts in Complex Development Projects.

Handling product variants challenges large-scale development projects world-wide. Research on feature modeling and variant management is broad and yields potential for coping with CPS variants in a model-driven way. Read more about our research here.

Evolution and Transformation of Models

A rigorously designed modeling language does not come without a rigorously defined semantics. The semantics is what enables automated analyses, transformations and also the understanding of model-users. Domain-Specific Languages with a rigorously defined semantics thereby enable to employ the power of mathematical accuracy to automatically process domain knowledge at all development stages while still capturing the natural language of the respective domain. Read more about our contributions to formal methods enabling model-evolution analyses and model transformations here. System behavior is often stateful, be it a pure software system or a CPS. To find out more about state-based modeling, continue reading here.

Modeling Software Architectures

Architectural modeling is of major interest for SE as it allows to optimize structural and behavioral aspects of the system. CPS are distributed systems of systems which make them inherently complex. Model-Driven Systems Engineering will therefore greatly benefit from the experience of SE in this field. Find out more here.

Below you can find a list of selected papers or read more about our reasearch here.