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The Impact of Petri Nets on System-of-Systems Engineering

SINCLAIR, KIRSTEN,MHAIRI (2009) The Impact of Petri Nets on System-of-Systems Engineering. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

The successful engineering of a large-scale system-of-systems project towards deterministic behaviour depends on integrating autonomous components using international communications standards in accordance with dynamic requirements. To-date, their engineering has been unsuccessful: no combination of top-down and bottom-up engineering perspectives is adopted, and information exchange protocol and interfaces between components are not being precisely specified. Various approaches such as modelling, and architecture frameworks make positive contributions to system-of-systems specification but their successful implementation is still a problem.

One of the most popular modelling notations available for specifying systems, UML, is intuitive and graphical but also ambiguous and imprecise. Supplying a range of diagrams to represent a system under development, UML lacks simulation and exhaustive verification capability. This shortfall in UML has received little attention in the context of system-of-systems and there are two major research issues:

1. Where the dynamic, behavioural diagrams of UML can and cannot be used to model and analyse system-of-systems
2. Determining how Petri nets can be used to improve the specification and analysis of the dynamic model of a system-of-systems specified using UML

This thesis presents the strengths and weaknesses of Petri nets in relation to the specification of system-of-systems and shows how Petri net models can be used instead of conventional UML Activity Diagrams. The model of the system-of-systems can then be analysed and verified using Petri net theory. The Petri net formalism of behaviour is demonstrated using two case studies from the military domain. The first case study uses Petri nets to specify and analyse a close air support mission. This case study concludes by indicating the strengths, weaknesses, and shortfalls of the proposed formalism in system-of-systems specification. The second case study considers specification of a military exchange network parameters problem and the results are compared with the strengths and weaknesses identified in the first case study.

Finally, the results of the research are formulated in the form of a Petri net enhancement to UML (mapping existing activity diagram elements to Petri net elements) to meet the needs of system-of-systems specification, verification and validation.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:System-of-systems; Large-scale systems; Systems engineering; SoS engineering; Petri Nets; UML Activity Diagrams; Coloured Petri Nets; CPN; Discrete-event systems; Behavioural modelling; Validation; Simulation; Verification; Model checking; Performance analysis; System specification; State space; Dynamic analysis; Static analysis; Largeness avoidance; System-of-systems specification; UML dynamic model; UML behavioural diagrams; Case study
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Engineering and Computing Science, School of
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:28 Apr 2010 10:38

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