Exploring the Digital Thread, Part 1

A practical Digital Thread capability has two aspects, to build and maintain the network of connections that define a system and to analyze and document that network to provide the project team members with the information they need. In this blog series, we will focus on that second aspect.

Syndeia, the MBSE integration platform from Intercax, offers two approaches, a flexible set of built-in user interfaces and an open REST API that makes the same content available to external data analysis and visualization applications. In the TechNote, Exploring the Digital Thread with Syndeia, Part 1, and the accompanying video, we will discuss the first approach, to be followed by later descriptions of the second.

Part 1 treats analysis and reporting under two scenarios. In the first, we start from a single model element and trace out its network of connections interactively.  In the second, we query the entire Digital Thread for real-time reports on the progress of the modeling effort.

The first scenario makes use of new features in Syndeia Release 3.4 (June 2021).  In this release, Syndeia Cloud queries many of the federated repositories directly through their APIs, meaning that models in tools such as JIRA, Teamwork Cloud, DOORS NG and others, their artifacts, attributes and internal relations, are now accessible through the Syndeia Cloud REST API. We can view and search those models through the Syndeia Web Dashboard, for example, a Teamwork Cloud repository (CATIA Magic) in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Teamwork Cloud @ Intercax repository viewed in Syndeia Web Dashboard

Using a new feature, the Digital Thread Explorer, we can start from a single model element and selectively expand its network of intra-model and inter-model connections. Users can format and export the network diagrams to report the results.

Figure 2 Digital Thread Explorer initiated from TWC SysML activity, Blackwater_Subsystem_Control

The second scenario uses the powerful Gremlin graph query language to look for connectivity patterns and anti-patterns across the entire Digital Thread to monitor the extent of model development and connection. An example is shown in Figure 3. Results can be exported in graphical, tabular or JSON structured data format. The ability to recognize different versions in configuration-managed repositories is critical to managing the evolution of the system model over time.

Figure 3  Gremlin query results, Jama requirement – TWC SysML activity – JIRA issue

While Syndeia provides a versatile set of built-in user interfaces, it is envisioned as an API-first platform where the entire content of the Digital Thread can be made available to a broad range of data analysis and visualization capabilities. This allows each organization to apply the best data science tools available and tailor its interfaces to their custom analysis, workflow automation and documentation need. In Part 2 (forthcoming), we will look at Jupyter notebooks as a mechanism for exploring the Digital Thread with Syndeia.

TechNote: Exploring the Digital Thread with Syndeia, Part 1

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.