PhD Proposal by Ehiremen Nathaniel Omoarebun

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Ehiremen Nathaniel Omoarebun
(Advisor: Prof. Dimitri Mavris)

will propose a doctoral thesis entitled,

A Systems Design Approach to Transition from Product to Analysis Architecture using a Synthesis of RFLP and Axiomatic Design Theory


Thursday, July 28 at 8:00 a.m.


The continuous advancement of technology in recent years has led to increasing complexity in engineering design. Over the years, engineers have explored various ways to manage complexity in during the different phases of design. This has led to the emergence of Systems Engineering. Initial and traditional systems engineering efforts were document-centric in nature. Documents were used to describe systems, communicate with stakeholders and collaborate with teams. However, this came with certain challenges including difficulty updating these documents due to the static nature of papers, some valuable information lost in the process of communication and difficulty managing large amount of document. There has been a paradigm shift lately from document-based approaches to model-based approaches in the form of Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE).

In MBSE, the engineers work is centered around the model, which serves as the key artifact of the system being designed. The model also serves as a single source of truth for the system, allowing for improved communication, quality, productivity, reduced risks and cost. Though, with MBSE being a relatively new area of systems engineering, it comes with its own problems. There is no unique or standard methodology to model systems. Over the years, International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), the systems engineering professional society, together with engineers have tried to establish industry standards to formalize the application of systems engineering. Some of this include the use of Systems Modeling Language (SysML) as the de-facto language to describe general purpose systems and the establishment of various methodologies for designing complex systems.

However, there is still a lot to be done especially in the development of a systems architecture. The design of a systems architecture comprises of both a product architecture and an analysis architecture. There is no formal approach to transition between these two architectures during system design. Current method relies primarily on systems engineers’ knowledge obtained from previous experience or a domain expert for a system design to be implemented effectively.

This research aims to formalize that process by establishing a more structured communication between the product and analysis architecture allowing for the design of better and improved systems, especially during the conceptual stages of design. The goal is to leverage mathematical foundations of various design theories in conjunction with modern MBSE methodologies to create a formal and more structured design process. After a rigorous literature search, Axiomatic Design Theory (ADT) was identified as a potential solution due to ability to provide metrics to measure design progress, quality, and serves as a foundation for other design theories, due to the knowledge captured during decomposition. ADT is combined with an MBSE framework, RFLP (Requirements, Function, Logical and Physical) which is used to define the core elements of a system. This dissertation aims to create a synergy between ADT and RFLP to serve as a basis of formalism during system design and decomposition.

First, the limitations of ADT are identified and ways to address these limitations are explored. Secondly, to create a holistic and more thorough design, non-functional requirements are modeled in a more structured manner and integrated into the design process. Thirdly, the level of fidelity required during transition from product to analysis architecture is investigated. Lastly, an overall methodology to create a better and more structured system architecture through the combination of ADT and RFLP is developed.



  • Prof. Dimitri Mavris – School of Aerospace Engineering (advisor)
  • Prof. Daniel Schrage – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • Prof. Brian German – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • Dr. Selçuk Cimtalay – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • Dr. Charles Domerçant – Georgia Tech Research Institute


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Tatianna Richardson
  • Created:07/14/2022
  • Modified By:Tatianna Richardson
  • Modified:07/14/2022