MBSE for Urban Systems – Part 6 | Urban Systems Modeling with Graph Databases

In our discussion of urban systems modeling using MBSE, we have demonstrated the value of model federation with respect to information sharing and collaboration. When a sufficient number of model elements have been connected, we can use the same platform to explore and navigate the Total System Model efficiently.

The foundation for this is supported by recent advance in graph database technology and pattern-matching query languages. Using these, we can ask questions of the model, such as

  • How many Jama model analysis requirements are part of the federated model?
  • How many model analysis requirements are satisfied?
  • How many are satisfied by Simulink blocks?

We can easily ask more specific questions,

  • For changes to a specific DOORS NG requirement, which Simulink blocks may be affected?
  • For that requirement, what JIRA issues should hold verification status results?

Modern graph database technology makes these analyses practical in terms of speed and scaleability even for very large model federations.

As an example, we have used Syndeia to export our model connections to a Neo4j graph database. These include both the connections between models in different tools, stored by Syndeia, and the internal dependency and composition relationships within the SysML model (Cameo or Rhapsody).  The resulting graph can be analyzed with the Cypher pattern-matching queries language.

Figure 1 Query on Neo4j database, “Show all Simulink blocks satisfying DOORS requirement ‘Traffic Management’”

Figure 1 shows the results for asking, “Show all Simulink blocks satisfying the DOORS requirement Traffic Management”. The graph shows that DOORS requirement (blue) connected to a SysML requirement (Purple), connected by a SysML <<satisfy>> relationship to a SysML block (green), connected to the Traffic_Mgmt Simulink block. The same information can be displayed in tabular form.  A small change to the query identifies any JIRA tasks connected to the same requirement, as shown in Figure 2. In future versions of Syndeia, these model elements, e.g. the JIRA task US-43, may be opened directly from the graph.

Figure 2 Query on Neo4j database, “Show all JIRA issues satisfying DOORS requirement ‘Traffic Management’”

Applying the latest advances in systems engineering, modeling and simulation to the study of our urban communities offer great promise in achieving a better quality of life and resiliency in emergency situations. This work is only a small step in the major challenges of connecting all the expertise and effort needed for the practical application. It is beyond the scope of this blog series to describe in detail each of the subsystems and interactions in our Urban Systems model, but the SysML model, in either Cameo or Rhapsody format, is available below for free download. Groups interested in the application of Syndeia to similar problems should contact the author for demonstration and discussion.

SysML Model:

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Dirk Zwemer

Dr. Dirk Zwemer (dirk.zwemer@intercax.com) is President of Intercax LLC (Atlanta, GA), a supplier of MBE engineering software platforms like Syndeia and ParaMagic. He is an active teacher and consultant in the field and holds Level 4 Model Builder-Advanced certification as an OMG System Modeling Professional.