A Bayesian learning approach to inconsistency identification in model-based systems engineering
Herzig, Sebastian J. I.
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Designing and developing complex engineering systems is a collaborative effort. In Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), this collaboration is supported through the use of formal, computer-interpretable models, allowing stakeholders to address concerns using well-defined modeling languages. However, because concerns cannot be separated completely, implicit relationships and dependencies among the various models describing a system are unavoidable. Given that models are typically co-evolved and only weakly integrated, inconsistencies in the agglomeration of the information and knowledge encoded in the various models are frequently observed. The challenge is to identify such inconsistencies in an automated fashion. In this research, a probabilistic (Bayesian) approach to abductive reasoning about the existence of specific types of inconsistencies and, in the process, semantic overlaps (relationships and dependencies) in sets of heterogeneous models is presented. A prior belief about the manifestation of a particular type of inconsistency is updated with evidence, which is collected by extracting specific features from the models by means of pattern matching. Inference results are then utilized to improve future predictions by means of automated learning. The effectiveness and efficiency of the approach is evaluated through a theoretical complexity analysis of the underlying algorithms, and through application to a case study. Insights gained from the experiments conducted, as well as the results from a comparison to the state-of-the-art have demonstrated that the proposed method is a significant improvement over the status quo of inconsistency identification in MBSE.