Research in Engineering Design

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 53–69 | Cite as

Supporting design via the System Operational Dependency Analysis methodology

  • Cesare GuarinielloEmail author
  • Daniel DeLaurentis
Original Paper


In this paper, we introduce the system operational dependency analysis methodology. Its purpose is to assess the effect of dependencies between components in a monolithic complex system, or between systems in a system-of-systems, and to support design decision making. We propose a parametric model of the behavior of the system. This approach results in a simple, intuitive model, whose parameters give a direct insight into the causes of observed, and possibly emergent, behavior. Using the proposed method, designers, and decision makers can quickly analyze and explore the behavior of complex systems and evaluate different architecture under various working conditions. Thus, the system operational dependency analysis method supports educated decision making both in the design and in the update process of systems architecture, without the need to execute extensive simulations. In particular, in the phase of concept generation and selection, the information given by the method can be used to identify promising architectures to be further tested and improved, while discarding architectures that do not show the required level of global features. Application of the proposed method to a small example is used to demonstrate both the validation of the parametric model, and the capabilities of the method for system analysis, design and architecture.


Dependencies Design Behavioral analysis System architecture Operability Risk System-of-systems 

List of symbols


Operability of node i


Global term of operability of node i due to criticality of dependency


Global term of operability of node i due to strength of dependency


Term of operability of node i due to criticality of dependency from node j


Term of operability of node i due to strength of dependency from node j


Self-effectiveness of node i


Weight for the term based on criticality of dependency in multiple dependencies


Parameter associated to the strength of dependency (SOD) between node i and node j


Parameter associated to the criticality of dependency (COD) between node i and node j


Parameter associated to the impact of dependency (IOD) between node i and node j



This material is based upon work supported, in whole or in part, by the US Department of Defense through the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) under Contract HQ0034-13-D-0004 RT #108. SERC is a federally funded University Affiliated Research Center managed by Stevens Institute of Technology.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Aeronautics and AstronauticsPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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