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Local expo focuses on development of model-based embedded systems

Local expo focuses on development of model-based embedded systems

Story by Joanna Bradley on 02/25/2019

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. An expo hosted by the University of Alabama in Huntsville aimed to address and develop solutions to delays being experienced in aviation systems development.

The SAE International Aerospace Standard 5506 Architecture Analysis & Design Language Standard and Tools Expo was held on Feb. 14 at UAH in Huntsville, Ala., with Dr. Bill Lewis, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center’s Aviation Development Directorate director, as the keynote speaker.

“There is an affordability limit for aviation systems primarily driven by exponential growth in software size and complexity,” said Lewis. “However, as we hit the affordability limit, the functionality we desire and depend on will be restricted, risk of failure increased, and time-to-fielding extended significantly.”

Ever-increasing costs in aviation systems development are revealing a significant gap in development processes: the lack of ability to understand architecture-level interaction before physical integration.

“The SAE International AADL provides precise, real-time, embedded semantics for engineering analysis and automated trusted system build,” said Alex Boydston, ADD’s Joint Multi-Role Mission System Architecture Demonstration division project engineer. “It enables an analytical, formal, agile, and compositional approach to building complex, interactive, software-driven systems.”

ADD’s JMR-MSAD science and technology program has been working with Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute and Adventium Labs since 2013 to use AADL for increasingly complex demonstrations of an Architecture Centric Virtual Integration Process. ACVIP focuses on the modeling and analysis of complex embedded cyber physical systems, specifically on the development, delivery, and virtual integration of models early in the development lifecycle where the cost to detect and repair defects is much lower.

ACVIP with AADL is a key component of the Department of Defense’s digital engineering strategy for embedded systems. In implementing the DES, the DoD’s goal is to advance engineering practices so that it can innovate, experiment, and work more efficiently. “ACVIP provides the process that unifies the practice of virtual integration for use on development programs,” said Boydston.

“ACVIP will capture the properties of the embedded computing system in an architectural model represented in AADL and allow for non-functional and functional analyses such as with safety, cybersecurity, resources, and timing,” said Boydston.

Nearly 100 people attended the event, which included presentations and demonstrations by 13 tool developers. Many who didn’t attend requested information disseminated after the event. For further information on the event of information regarding ACVIP or AADL, please email The publically released briefings for the tool demo can be downloaded at:

The CCDC Aviation & Missile Center, formerly known as the Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, which conducts responsive research, development and life cycle engineering to deliver the aviation and missile capabilities the Army depends on to ensure victory on the battlefield today and tomorrow. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation’s wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.

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