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Using formal methods with SysML in aerospace design and engineering

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Maintaining design consistency is a critical issue for macro-level aerospace development. The inability to maintain design consistency is a major contributor to cost and schedule overruns. By embedding The Systems Modeling Language (SysML) within a formal logic, formal methods can be used to maintain consistency as a design evolves. SysML, provided with a formal semantics, enables engineers to employ reasoning in the course of a typical model-based development process. Engineers can make use of formal methods within the context of current engineering practice and tools without needing to have special formal methods training. As component subsystems are introduced to refine a design, their assumptions are checked against current assumptions. If new assumptions do not introduce inconsistency, they are added to the model assumptions. If the assumptions render the design inconsistent, they are detected which minimizes potential rework. SysML has a demonstrated capability for top-to-bottom design refinement for large-scale aerospace systems. SysML does not have a formal logic-based semantics. The logical formalism within which SysML is embedded matches the informal semantic of SysML closely. The approach to integrating formal methods with SysML is illustrated with a typical macro-level aerospace design task. The design process produces a design solution which provably satisfies the top level requirements. The example provides evidence that coupling formal methods with SysML can realistically be applied to solve aerospace development problems. The approach results from a number of detailed design trades employing a model-based system development process which used SysML as the model integration framework.

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Correspondence to Henson Graves.

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Graves, H., Bijan, Y. Using formal methods with SysML in aerospace design and engineering. Ann Math Artif Intell 63, 53–102 (2011).

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Mathematics Subject Classifications (2010)