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 March 2017 - Blending Systems Engineering, Life Cycle Support, Reliability, and Testing

March cover web 300pxThe theme for this issue is “Blending Systems Engineering, Life Cycle Support, Reliability, and Testing,” and the issue includes two Guest Editorials, Inside the Beltway, Historical Perspectives, Guest Editor’s Perspective, President’s Corner, and eight technical articles.

Our first Guest Editorial, written by William Miller, is “The Engagement of Systems Engineering with Test and Evaluation.” He states that this engagement is necessary because of the complication and interconnection of the systems of today, and he recommends that systems  engineering must engage with test and evaluation to improve systems development outcomes.

Our second Guest Editorial, from Laura McGill, is “Model-Based Engineering (MBE): Advancing Engineering Test and Evaluation,” which discusses the contributions of MBE to design and T&E. She states that MBE’s contribution to design starts with an increased understanding of the system being developed. MBE provides a means to transfer knowledge contained in the model to other engineers in the future and facilitates testing.

Our Inside the Beltway is titled “Complexity Consciousness.” In it Shelley Yak discusses the continued modernization of the National Airspace System (NAS) called Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). She states that attaining and maintaining conscious awareness of the system, service, and stakeholder complexity elements of NextGen is a difficult but essential task as the NAS is transformed.

Our Historical Perspectives feature is titled “Modular Design and Standardization: Past, Present, and Future.” Author Andrew Russell, Ph.D., states that the modular approach to systems design has been adopted in a great variety of fields and is historically similar to the development of standards. Modularity is a strategy that can be used to manage complexity.

For this issue, we are fortunate to have a Guest Editor, Wilson N. Felder, Ph.D., who also provided the Guest Editor’s Perspective on the Issue. He solicited, guided, and sequenced the featured departments and eight technical articles. He also coordinated this issue with the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) INSIGHT magazine issue that will explore the same theme. His motivating focus was to show that systems engineering and test and evaluation are distinct disciplines that are essential to an integrated approach  toward providing the best systems in every sense. His goal for selecting the features and technical articles was to provide progress reports from the front lines of systems engineering and test and evaluation applied to an integrated system development cycle.

The President’s Corner, written by B. Gene Hudgins, looks ahead in his last year as our ITEA President and as the new administration takes office and begins. He discusses the line-up of articles in this issue and previews upcoming ITEA events for 2017.

Our first of eight technical articles, “Cost Effective Verification and Validation,” by Kevin Knudsen, states that there is a trend to blend and integrate systems engineering, reliability, life cycle support, and testing. Related to that trend, cost-effective verification and validation are performed as early as practical to identify, mitigate, and retire program risks earlier. Exposing design issues earlier in the product development life cycle saves resources.

The second technical article in this issue, “Developmental Test and Evaluation: ‘Shifting Left’ to Improve Defense System Reliability,” written by Irvin Boyles, states that a recent Department of Defense study team proposed activities and practices that begin earlier in new acquisition programs to achieve reliability growth and objectives earlier at less life cycle cost. He states that investing to address reliability shortfalls is most effectively accomplished during system development activities. He includes recommendations to improve reliability.

In a Peer-Reviewed article “Systems Engineering Measurement as a Leading Indicator for Project Performance,” Christian T. Orlowski et al. present the results of surveying systems engineering professionals to capture an industry perspective on  systems engineering measurement. The authors’ goal was to determine if systems engineering measurement on a project yields statistically significant improved project performance.

In our fourth technical article, “Shift Left Testing the Agile Way,” Suzanne Miller and Robert V. Binder state that there are considerations for success and failure for shifting developmental testing and operational testing to the left. They present four ways to shift testing left,  and they discuss the Agile and shift left synthesis. There are impediments to shift left testing that cannot be solved by Agile alone.

In the fifth technical article, “A Business Case for Using Models as a Life Cycle Design Canvas for Aerospace Systems,” Alexander A. Auguste states that the primary driver of cost from engineering change requests and schedule overruns in the development of highly complex systems is the problem of poor or degraded communications. He writes that a key solution is good normalized communications between the many organizations involved in the systems development in order to get early information correct.

In the sixth technical article, “Test and Evaluation for Enhanced Security: A Quantitative Method to Incorporate Expert Knowledge into Test Planning Decisions,” Davinia Rizzo and Mark Blackburn, Ph.D., discuss both the importance of testing complex systems to ensure effectiveness and the constraints on testing due to cost, schedule, safety, and feasibility reasons. Their paper proposes a method to assess the full scope of the factors (performance, cost, schedule, risk…) and leverage expert knowledge to provide a decision aid for test planning  throughout the program development cycle.

The seventh technical article, “Input Attribution for Statistical Model Checking Using Logistic Regression,” from Jeffery P. Hansen, Ph.D., et al., demonstrates an approach to synthesize input attributions that are both meaningful to the investigator and have predictive value on the predicate outcomes. The authors present an approach to input attribution that builds a statistical model from a simulation, implements statistical model checking across many simultaneous simulations, and validates their hypotheses, often gaining new, unexpected insights.

Our last technical article of the issue, “Modeling Avionics System Software Stability Using a Five-State Markov Model and Clopper-Pearson Analysis,” written by Erich Brownlow, proposes a Markov model for multi-functional avionics system modeling and uses statistical inference to evaluate avionics system software stability.

I hope you enjoy this first issue of 2017 for The ITEA Journal of Test and Evaluation. By the time you receive issue 38-1 in March, the June 2017 issue 38-2 is being finalized. That theme will be “Training the Future T&E Workforce.” For the next issue (the third issue of 2017), 38-3, the deadline for submissions is just after June 1, 2017, and the theme will be “T&E of Cyber Security and Readiness.” We have posted all themes and descriptions for the remainder of 2017–early 2021 on the ITEA website.

Please provide feedback on the choice of themes, and please write early and often. Please remember that a one-year membership in ITEA (and 4 issues of The ITEA Journal of Test and Evaluation) can go to any student on your gift list for just $25!

 

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