The CAESAR software is a plug-in for No Magic's MagicDraw tool that allows users to capture a model of a flight system architecture at various levels of abstraction while maintaining consistency of the system design information, products, and artifacts that are commonly used in flight system design such as block diagrams that capture the system topology. Each level of abstraction is characterized by a model of components, interfaces, signals, and channels. These fundamental constructs are annotated by ontologies to provide semantics and context for architecture models at each level of abstraction. The plug-in manages consistency between models of the flight system architecture and projected views from the set of defined architecture models, and allows for annotating semantics by creating and applying metamodels that capture domain-specific concepts using the profiling mechanism in Magic-Draw. Projected views are described in specific block diagrams, tables, reports, and other documentation.
Current system design practice is driven by loosely coupled documents of different aspects of the system that are created by different teams at various levels of detail. The aspects include topology and organizational diagrams, tables, reports, and other documents that capture parts of a single system design. Inconsistencies arise when communicating the content of these artifacts with other teams and sometimes among different team members within the same teams. Assumptions that are made are often not communicated, or are inconsistent between the artifacts and the system architecture. Moreover, developing a system architecture is inherently a decision process that transforms stakeholder needs into a system design solution.
A decision in systems architecting can be thought of as a partitioning and selection operation in architecture candidate space as one traverses the levels and refines higher-level decisions. During this process, the architect reduces the set of alternative system architectures to a system design that is feasible and satisfies the higher-level system goals. Consequently, innovative methods, processes, and tools are needed to cope with architecting space systems that can be unambiguously represented throughout the abstraction levels using tools that can be incorporated to solve system design problems automatically. The CAESAR Plug-in for MagicDraw is an implementation that addresses these issues.
The CAESAR Plug-in software is unique in that it enables the user to capture different aspects of the system at different levels of abstraction and relates the system design information between abstraction levels. The software provides a graphical user interface that is built on a model-view-controller software architecture to support model construction, system design analysis, and generation of commonly used artifacts during system design including baselined products that are essential to the system engineering process at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).