A network tool to analyse and improve robustness of system architectures

Paparistodimou, Giota and Duffy, Alex and Whitfield, Robert Ian and Knight, Philip and Robb, Malcolm (2020) A network tool to analyse and improve robustness of system architectures. Design Science, 6. e8. ISSN 2053-4701

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    Abstract

    The architecture of a system is decided at the initial stage of the design. However, the robustness of the system is not usually assessed in detail during the initial stages, and the exploration of alternative system architectures is limited due to the influence of previous designs and opinions. This article presents a novel network generator that enables the analysis of the robustness of alternative system architectures in the initial stages of design. The generator is proposed as a network tool for system architectures dictated by their configuration of source and sink components structured in a way to deliver a particular functionality. Its parameters allow exploration with theoretical patterns to define the main structure and hub structure, vary the number, size, and connectivity of hub components, define source and sink components and directionality at the hub level and adapt a redundancy threshold criterion. The methodology in this article assesses the system architecture patterns through robustness and modularity network based metrics and methods. Two naval distributed engineering system architectures are examined as the basis of reference for the simulated networks. The generator provides the capacity to create alternative complex system architecture options with identifiable patterns and key features, aiding in a broader explorative and analytical, in-depth, time and cost-efficient initial design process.