Towards a Systems Engineering Essence 1

Keywords Towards a Systems Engineering Essence OMG sysml An ISO/IEC 42010
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To teach systems engineering as a science we need to suggest a set of ideal objects that correspond to real world objects and teach students to mentally operate with them. Like physics studies physical bodies that have mass and acceleration properties that do not exist in the real world (a ball and a rocket are not physical bodies, we simply “blend” it with physical body and thus attribute mass and acceleration properties that can be applied for ball and rocket).

In a manner similar to chemistry studies of chemical bonds and valences that are ideal objects, we need such ideal objects for systems engineering.
The Essence language suggests the usage of alphas for representing such ideal objects-from-a-discipline and work products for representing objects-from-a-real-world).

We study alphas “requirements” or “team” and train our discipline (as in physics or chemistry) to think about them as we do with any theory. In real life we usually have not seen any “requirements” documents named “The Requirements” and “team” that named “The Team” but only variety of documents or database records provided by the multiple human actors involved. Those actors give them names that have no resemblance to “requirements” and “team”. We must somehow “blend” these theoretical concepts (alphas) with real life concepts (work products) in order to apply our theoretical knowledge to real life situations.

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Essence provides a powerful Language and a Kernel for describing software development processes. How can it be tweaked to apply it to systems engineering methods description? We must harmonize Essence and various systems engineering standards in order to provide a more formal system approach to obtaining a Systems Engineering Essence. In this paper, an approach of using Essence for systems engineering is presented. In this approach we partly modified a Kernel only within engineering solution area of concerns and completely preserved Language as an excellent situational method engineering foundation.


Systems engineering is highly diversified in regard to Systems-of-Interest types and methods utilized in their definition and realization. Moreover, the discipline is rapidly changing just now by adopting contemporary model-based methodologies. By definition systems engineering has blurry boundaries with control systems (cyber-physical system) engineering, software engineering and even enterprise engineering that is also considered to be in the domain of the systems engineering discipline.

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