Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

System Architecture, Level of Decomposition, and Structural Complexity: Analysis and Observations

[+] Author and Article Information
GwangKi Min

Department of Industrial Engineering,
Seoul National University,
1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu,
Seoul 08826, Korea
e-mail: minkimkk@snu.ac.kr

Eun Suk Suh

Department of Industrial Engineering,
Seoul National University,
1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu,
Seoul 08826, Korea
e-mail: essuh@snu.ac.kr

Katja Hölttä-Otto

Department of Engineering
Design and Production,
Aalto University,
P.O. Box 11000,
Aalto Fl-00076, Finland
e-mail: katja.holtta-otto@aalto.fi

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received March 20, 2015; final manuscript received November 11, 2015; published online December 21, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Kristina Shea.

J. Mech. Des 138(2), 021102 (Dec 21, 2015) (11 pages) Paper No: MD-15-1240; doi: 10.1115/1.4032091 History: Received March 20, 2015; Revised November 11, 2015

As a result of technological advance and ever-increasing stakeholder expectations, today’s engineering systems are becoming entities of a complex nature. Therefore, understanding and managing the complexity of such systems are becoming increasingly important, in particular during the early stages of the system development process, such as conceptual and preliminary design. In this paper, an analysis to measure the structural complexity of a system is presented. Systems with different architectural configurations (integral, linear-modular, and bus-modular) were analyzed at various levels of system decomposition. The results show that the structural complexity of a system depends largely on the architectural configurations at the lowest level of system decomposition. The sensitivities of each architectural configuration (due to the addition of more connections) were different. A real-life complex system was observed from the architectural configuration and structural complexity point of view.

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Fig. 1

Node–link and DSM representations of systems with integral, linear-modular, and bus-modular architectural configurations: (a) integral architecture, (b) linear-modular architecture, and (c) bus-modular architecture

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Fig. 2

Two-level decomposition of bus-modular architecture system

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Fig. 3

DSM representation of a system with two levels of decomposition

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Fig. 4

DSM representation of a system with three levels of decomposition: (a) 1st level and (b) 2nd level

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Fig. 8

Box diagram of the printing system

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Fig. 7

Plot of structural complexity differences between linear-modular architecture based system and bus-modular architecture based system as function of total number of added connections in the system

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Fig. 6

Sparsity pattern for the theoretical DSMs: (a) linear-modular and (b) bus-modular architectural configurations

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Fig. 5

Eigenvalues of the three different architectural configuration with two levels of decomposition: (a) level 1: integral, (b) level 1: linear-modular, and (c) level 1: bus-modular




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