I am almost positive no one in my family will be interested in my term paper for my graduate course this semester. However, I am posting it here because I received a good grade from my professor, who is a well respected member of INCOSE.
I figure I could post my paper on my website and perhaps some other Systems Engineers would find it useful and educational.
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System Architecting with Ontology Based Model Development
This paper discusses possible methods and benefits of using Ontology to bridge together system models of all forms. Great progress has been made in software and hardware modeling over the last few decades. Tools exist that can model and simulate software and hardware in circumstances very close to actual manufactured products. Software models using UML (Unified Modeling Language) and hardware models using VHDL are examples of modeling languages that can be used for rapid prototyping and system verification before proceeding with manufacturing. Models have even matured to allow IP houses to develop system models and sell their models for later production or inclusion to larger systems by other manufacturers. However, there are numerous disconnects between models of varying levels within an architecture. Each layer requires documentation and human intervention to translate models from one layer to the next. Using ontological schemas and agreed upon data exchange rules could allow disparate models at varying system levels to retrieve data and performance metrics automatically by machines. These Ontologies could be used as the glue between model layers and provide for more integrated system models executing actual system code. In the future it may be possible for a systems architect to sell integrated architecture models for entire products and services that can be produced in any physical form, by anyone, regardless of geographical location.