On Systems of Systems Engineering and Systems of Systems: Key Challenges and a Strategic Research Agenda

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T2.21, Turing, Wheatley Campus


''Many societal challenges of the 21st Century, such as food and energy security, emissions and global climate, community security and safety, planning the future resources of the planet, sustainable transport, globalisation of economic and social activity, population demographics and coping with the challenge of an ageing population are all global in nature. Therefore, due this increasingly connectivity of society and industry, our modern societal world now increasingly depends on ultra-large-scale complex Systems of Systems (SoS).

Many of these large-scale Systems of Systems (SoS) of societal significance rely on integrated Systems of Systems, shared enterprises, and national or world-wide critical infrastructures. It is also more likely that many of these systems are Mixed Criticality Systems in which both critical and non-critical systems share infrastructures therefore blurring the boundaries between societies, industries and economies. Due to their enormous scale and complexity, these challenges are multi-dimensional and borderless. Consequently they are beyond the capacity of any one discipline, sector, country, region to handle or one aspect of policy to address. The challenges laid down by the multidimensionality of these global problems including the interconnectedness of decisions across different policy sectors require new Systems Engineering approaches, new ways of thinking and new skill sets. Therefore, the emergence of Systems of Systems Engineering (SoSE) and Systems of Systems (SoS) presents a potential for solving many of the challenges facing our world today.

In this talk, I will first motivate by describing the scale, complexities and challenges posed by Systems of Systems and how SoS are driven by societal needs. I would then introduce Systems of Systems Engineering as an emerging interdisciplinary approach with a potential for solving many of the challenges posed by large-scale, complex Systems of Systems.

I will then briefly outline the key differences between SoS and large, complex monolithic systems. I will then overview the distinguishing characteristics and types of Systems of Systems followed by discussing why setting a boundary for SoS is more challenging than for single-centric systems.

I will then outline general trends in RE challenges for SoS and use examples to demonstrate the economic impact of SoS failures. I will then overview the major aspects of the twelve research themes of the Strategic Research Agenda in Systems of Systems Engineering that is informed by the "Trans-Atlantic Research and Education Agenda on Systems of Systems" (T-AREA-SOS), a European Union funded project with a primary purpose of providing input to EU's Horizon 2020 in formulating a Strategic Research Agenda for Systems of Systems Engineering (SoSE) that spans Europe and US activities.

I will conclude this talk by briefly describing the legacy of the Strategic Research Agenda and our latest research in Systems of Systems Engineering.''