UML has become a standard modeling language amongst the software community, and is believed to be sufficiently robust to support extensions to address the needs of systems engineering. In addition, UML has an extensive
supporting infrastructure through OMG, which includes broad industry representation, and a defined process and infrastructure for extending the modeling language. A standard modeling language for systems engineering to
analyze, specify, design, and verify complex systems, is intended to enhance systems quality, improve the ability to exchange systems engineering information amongst tools, and help bridge the semantic gap between systems, software, and other engineering disciplines.
The decision to pursue the Unified Modeling Language (UML) for systems engineering (SE), was made following a series of discussions at the International Workshop of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) in January, 2001. Dave Oliver represented INCOSE at the OMG Technical meeting in July '2001, to initiate a liaison with the OMG to support evolution of UML for Systems Engineering . At the meeting, the Memorandum of Understanding between OMG and INCOSE was signed, and the Systems Engineering Domains Special Interest Group (SE DSIG) was chartered. Sanford Friedenthal was identified as the INCOSE liaison to the OMG and SE DSIG chair. The SE DSIG kickoff meeting was held on September 13, 2001 in Toronto.
The initial phase of the SE DSIG focused on developing the requirements for UML for Systems Engineering. This effort included several activities including the issuance of a Request For Information (RFI) on how UML is being applied to systems engineering, support for the development of a Systems Engineering Conceptual Model, collaboration activities with the UML 2 Submission Teams, and development of a detailed requirements analysis for UML for SE. This phase culminated at the OMG Technical Meeting in Orlando on March 28, 2003 with the issuance of the UML for Systems Engineering RFP. Refer to the INCOSE 2003 paper entitled :"Extending UML from Software to Systems" for additional background on these activities. The SysML specification was developed in response to the RFP and adopted in July '06. Information on OMG SysML™ can be found at http://www,omgsysml.org.
At the February 2-3, 2005 SE DSIG meeting in Burlingame, SE DSIG participants agreed to pursue a new standard to support the Department of Defense (DoD) and Ministry of Defence (MOD) Architecture Frameworks (DODAF and MODAF). At the September, 2005 OMG meeting, the UML Profile for DODAF/MODAF was issued by the OMG through the C4I Domain Task Force. The revised submissions were presented to the OMG at the March '07 OMG meeting in San Diego. Additional information on this activity can be found at http://syseng.omg.org/UPDM.htm .
Relation to AP-233 effort. The SE DSIG effort has been closely aligned with the on-going ISO AP-233 standard activity [AP-233]. AP-233 is focused on developing a data interchange standard for systems engineering, which is intended to provide a neutral data format to exchange systems engineering information among tools. The ISO AP-233 project is a working group of TC-184 (Technical Committee on Industrial Automation Systems and Integration), SC4 (Subcommittee on Industrial Data Standards), and is part of the larger STEP effort, which provides standardized models and infrastructure for the exchange of product model data. The result of this effort will be part of the existing ISO 10303 standard that will provide an “Application Protocol” for Systems Engineering. One of the joint SE DSIG and AP-233 tasks, is the development of the Systems Engineering Conceptual model, which is intended to help algin the requirements for UML for SE and the AP-233 data interchange standard.
Relation to Systems Engineering Process Standards. The SE DSIG effort is focused on establishing standards for system modeling. The system modeling is generally the result of implementing the activities and techniques which are defined by the applicable systems engineering process and methodology. There are several systems engineering process standards, including ANSI/EIA 632, IEEE 1220-1998, and ISO/IEC 15288. Each of these process standards defines the primary activities, which must be performed to implement systems engineering.
There are also a variety of methodologies for implementing the systems engineering process, which include both structured and object oriented methodologies. Some examples of systems engineering methods are referenced in the UML for SE RFI Responses and many others can be found in the INCOSE systems engineering handbook available from the INCOSE website.
OMG context and scope. The SE DSIG effort is part of OMG’s broader effort to evolve UML to address both general and domain specific requirements, such-as manufacturing, telecommunications, and healthcare. The OMG is an international consortium that was established in 1989. Its mission is focused on interoperability using object technology. Some of the primary standards the Consortium has adopted include specifications for CORBA and the Unified Modeling Language (UML). These technologies and others support the OMG Model Driven Architecture (MDA) approach. The OMG has a mature process, infrastructure, and organization for adopting standards. Its organization includes a combination of special interest groups, working groups, task forces, technology committees, and an architecture board, each with defined responsibilities in support of their technology adoption process. The process typically follows a pattern of generating a Request for Information to Industry to gather requirements, followed by a release of a Request for Proposal with the requirements for the standard. The OMG then evaluates responses, and adopts the standard based on the evaluations. Additional information can be found at the OMG web site athttp://www.omg.org.