Published in Systems Engineering

A new communication co-authored by Zoe Szajnfarber, Paul Grogan, Jitesh Panchal, and Erica Gralla appears online for Systems Engineering.

A call for consensus on the use of representative model worlds in systems engineering and design

Systems engineering and design (SE&D) researchers increasingly tackle questions at the intersection of technical and social aspects of complex systems design. Practical challenges of access, limited observation scope, and long timescales limit empirical study of SE&D phenomena. As a result, studies are typically conducted in model world settings abstracted from the real world, such as behavioral experiments with student subjects. Model worlds must be representative of the phenomena being studied to ensure insights generalize to the real‐world settings. Currently, there is a lack of shared understanding and standards within the SE&D research community to evaluate representativeness of model worlds. This communication captures the results of ongoing efforts to build consensus on this topic: it defines the concept of model worlds, disambiguates representativeness from related concepts, and draws comparisons to other research domains. It outlines a potential path forward and calls for community participation in establishing shared standards for model world representativeness in SE&D research.

Grogan Receives NSF CAREER Award

Paul Grogan was selected for a $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award for a 5-year project titled “CAREER: Understanding Strategic Dynamics in the Engineering of Decentralized Systems.”

This project will study strategic dynamics among multiple interacting design decision-makers to support improved design theory and methodology for system-of-systems applications across multiple domains including aerospace and defense, manufacturing, and critical infrastructure. In addition, it supports novel education and outreach activities focused on the use of interactive simulations and games to teach and learn about collective design and decision-making for complex systems.

Award abstract: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1943433

CAREER: The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

National Science Foundation

Published in Journal of Network and Systems Management

A new article co-authored by Abbas Ehsanfar and Paul Grogan appears online for Journal of Network and Systems Management.

Auction-Based Algorithms for Routing and Task Scheduling in Federated Networks

This paper studies and develops multiple auction-based algorithms for resource exchange among decentralized systems in federated networks with distributed computational resources. Decentralized resource owners and users use processing, storage, and communication units to perform the available computational tasks at each time step while an auctioneer facilitates allocating resources. The auctioneer communicates with federates and receives bids for buying and selling resources, solves combinatorial problems, and proposes prices to federates. Multiple auction-based mechanisms are formulated and assessed using collective performance metrics in a networked federation. The auction-based algorithms include four reverse-bid and double-sided auctions: (1) first-price auction, (2) sequential non-linear pricing auction, (3) min–max closed-form pricing auction, and (4) balanced and maximizing closed-form pricing auction. For results, we assess algorithms for economic and computational efficiency using extensive simulation runs in hundreds of network topologies and initial conditions. The metrics introduced for our numerical validation include normalized bids and prices, collective values, and convergence rates.

Abbas Ehsanfar and Paul T. Grogan

Published in Design Science

A new article co-authored by Paul Grogan and Ambrosio Valencia-Romero appears online and open-access for Design Science.

Strategic Risk Dominance in Collective Systems Design

Engineered system architectures leveraging collaboration among multiple actors across organizational boundaries are envisioned to be more flexible, robust, or efficient than independent alternatives but also carry significant downside risks from new interdependencies added between constituents. This paper transitions the concept of risk dominance from equilibrium selection in game theory to engineering design as a strategic measure of collective stability for system of systems. A proposed method characterizes system design as a bi-level problem with two or more asymmetric decision-makers. A measure of risk dominance assesses strategic dynamics with respect to the stability of joint or collaborative architectures relative to independent alternatives using a novel linearization technique to approximate linear incentives among actors. An illustrative example case for an asymmetric three-player design scenario shows how strategic risk dominance can identify and mitigate architectures with unstable risk-reward dynamics.

Paul T. Grogan and Ambrosio Valencia-Romero

Presented at ASME IDETC 2019

Alkim Avsar presented a paper on August 19, 2019 titled “The Effects of Locus of Control and Big Five Personality Traits on Collaborative Engineering Design Tasks with Negotiation ” at the 2019 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences (IDETC) Design Theory and Methodology (DTM) Conference in Anaheim California.

Alkim Avsar presents a paper titled ” The Effects of Locus of Control and Big Five Personality Traits on Collaborative Engineering Design Tasks with Negotiation”.

Abstract: Collaborative systems design is a human-centered activity dependent on individual decision-making processes. Personality traits have been found to influence individual behaviors and tendencies to compete or cooperate. This paper investigates the effects of Big Five and Locus of Control personality traits on negotiated outcomes of a simplified collaborative engineering design task. Secondary data includes results from short-form personality inventories and outcomes of pair design tasks. The data includes ten sessions of four participants each, where each participant completes a sequence of 12 pair tasks involving design space exploration and negotiation. Regression analysis shows a statistically-significant relationship between Big Five and Locus of Control and total individual value accumulated across the 12 design tasks. Results show the Big Five, aggregating extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and intellect/imagination to a single factor, negatively affects individual value and internal Locus of Control positively affects individual value. Future work should consider a dedicated experiment to refine understanding of how personality traits influence collaborative systems design and propose interventions to improve collaborative design processes.

Presented at IEEE IGARSS 2019

Paul Grogan presented a paper on August 1, 2019 titled “Modeling Challenges for Earth Observing Systems of Systems” at the 2019 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) in Yokohama, Japan.

Abstract: Earth observing systems are undergoing an architectural transformation to perform novel scientific campaigns by dynamically composing assets from government and commercial partners. Correspondingly, campaign-level engineering methods and tools must accommodate greater degrees of decentralized control and independence. This paper reviews advances provided by semantic web technology and distributed simulation to highlight some of the challenges in modeling Earth observing systems of systems. A campaign simulation framework organizes the contextual, structural, and behavioral features necessary to model Earth observing systems from a system of systems perspective. Finally, a multi-actor value framework considers interactive negotiation of non-commensurate preferences by participating entities.

CoDe Lab Members Recognized in SSE Awards

Two CoDe Lab members were recently recognized for outstanding efforts in the School of Systems and Enterprises.

Henry Lee (M.E. Systems Engineering ’18) was recognized with the best master’s thesis award for his work titled “Measuring the Strategic Risk of Collaboration for Satellite Programs, A Case Study on the National Polar-orbiting Satellite System.”

Jamey Laughland (M.E. student in Space Systems Engineering) was recognized for academic achievement in the systems engineering program.

Congratulations Henry and Jamey!

Happy Holidays from CoDe Lab

Happy Holidays from the Collective Design Lab. Celebrating the close of a successful 2018. Congratulations to the following graduating students:

  • Abbas Ehsanfar, Ph.D. Systems Engineering
  • Henry Lee, M.E. Systems Engineering
  • Lindsay Portelli, M.S. Computer Science

Published in Designs

A new open access article co-authored with Prof. Martin Törngren of KTH Royal Institute of Technology appears in a special issue of Designs on Challenges and Directions Forward for Dealing with the Complexity of Future Smart Cyber-Physical Systems.

How to Deal with the Complexity of Future Cyber-Physical Systems?

Martin Törngren and Paul T. Grogan

Abstract: Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) integrate computation, networking and physical processes to produce products that are autonomous, intelligent, connected and collaborative. Resulting Cyber-Physical Systems of Systems (CPSoS) have unprecedented capabilities but also unprecedented corresponding technological complexity. This paper aims to improve understanding, awareness and methods to deal with the increasing complexity by calling for the establishment of new foundations, knowledge and methodologies. We describe causes and effects of complexity, both in general and specific to CPS, consider the evolution of complexity, and identify limitations of current methodologies and organizations for dealing with future CPS. The lack of a systematic treatment of uncertain complex environments and “composability”, i.e., to integrate components of a CPS without negative side effects, represent overarching limitations of existing methodologies. Dealing with future CPSoS requires: (i) increased awareness of complexity, its impact and best practices for how to deal with it, (ii) research to establish new knowledge, methods and tools for CPS engineering, and (iii) research into organizational approaches and processes to adopt new methodologies and permit efficient collaboration within and across large teams of humans supported by increasingly automated computer aided engineering systems.