Modern systems are increasing in complexity. It is advantageous to understand and control this complexity as early in the design lifecycle as possible. The system architecting community must reconcile the inherent ambiguity in a system description with the need for analytical assessments of system attributes so as to increase the likelihood of developmental success. Presently, it is commonplace to decompose systems and subsystems using assumptions of idealized severability and reliance on superposition to estimate composite performance. It is suggested that these assumptions can result in errant oversimplification and represent an opportunity for new systems engineering research. This paper introduces a new methodology for assessing system architectures - one that leverages tools and expertise commonly found in the specialty domains of detailed engineering disciplines. The foundational elements and concepts behind the Canonical Decomposition Fuzzy Comparative assessment method are presented herein. The intent of this research is to better illuminate the characteristics of inter- and intra-system dynamics for programs that warrant the increased rigor of this method.

Meeting Name

4th Annual IEEE Systems Conference (2010: Apr. 5-8, San Diego, CA)


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Architecture; Canonical Design Primitive; Comparative Analysis; Extensible; Fuzzy Assessment

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2010 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

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