Using domain specific languages to capture design knowledge for model-based systems engineering

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Kerzhner, Aleksandr A.
Paredis, Christiaan J. J.
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Design synthesis is a fundamental engineering task that involves the creation of structure from a desired functional specification; it involves both creating a system topology as well as sizing the system's components. Although the use of computer tools is common throughout the design process, design synthesis is often a task left to the designer. At the synthesis stage of the design process, designers have an extensive choice of design alternatives that need to be considered and evaluated. Designers can benefit from computational synthesis methods in the creative phase of the design process. Recent increases in computational power allow automated synthesis methods for rapidly generating a large number of design solutions. Combining an automated synthesis method with an evaluation framework allows for a more thorough exploration of the design space as well as for a reduction of the time and cost needed to design a system. To facilitate computational synthesis, knowledge about feasible system configurations must be captured. Since it is difficult to capture such synthesis knowledge about any possible system, a design domain must be chosen. In this thesis, the design domain is hydraulic systems. In this thesis, Model-Driven Software Development concepts are leveraged to create a framework to automate the synthesis of hydraulic systems will be presented and demonstrated. This includes the presentation of a domain specific language to describe the function and structure of hydraulic systems as well as a framework for synthesizing hydraulic systems using graph grammars to generate system topologies. Also, a method using graph grammars for generating analysis models from the described structural system representations is presented. This approach fits in the context of Model-Based Systems Engineering where a variety of formal models are used to represent knowledge about a system. It uses the Systems Modeling Language developed by The Object Management Group (OMG SysML™) as a unifying language for model definition.
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