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Unformatted text preview: 1-1- Architecting Information-Intensive Aerospace Systems Chapter 1. Framing the Problem John M. Borky Copyright 2009-2010. All rights reserved. No portion of this document may be reproduced or distributed without the consent of the author.1-2- Chapter 1. Framing the Problem "When you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers, you know something about it." William Thomson, Lord Kelvin “Engineering is a human endeavor, and thus it is subject to error.” Henry Petroski The Aesthetic and Scientific Dimensions of Architecture Architecture is ultimately concerned with managing complexity. Typical definitions are “The fundamental organization of a system embodied in its components, their rela-tionships to each other and to the environment, and the principles guiding its design and evolution”1and “The structure of components, their relationships, and the principles and guidelines governing their design and evolution over time.”2The concepts and me-thods of architecture have been applied in virtually every field of human activity, from the original context of designing buildings and other structures to areas as diverse as hu-man anatomy, business processes, and computer networks. In this book, we consider the use of architectural principles and formal disciplines to manage the complexity of infor-mation- and software-intensive aerospace systems.*An architect is often described as a “big picture” person, someone who can take in the multiple dimensions of a complex problem, discover inherent patterns and themes, and cast the problem into a form that allows an orderly approach to its solution. The boundary between architecture and engineering, or between conceptualization and design, is neces-sarily rather vague, but it’s helpful to think of the architect as attacking a problem at the outset when it is ill-formed and incompletely described, and reducing it to a set of clear and unambiguous tasks and requirements from which engineers can proceed to imple-ment a solution. The architect ideally remains involved throughout the design and build-ing of the product or other solution to ensure that the integrity and balance of the original vision are maintained and to resolve inevitable conflicts, misunderstandings, and ambigu-ities that arise in the course of achieving the final result. Maier and Rechtin talk about the “Art and Science of Architecture” to express the concept of separate but related aesthetic and scientific dimensions.3Architecture must concern itself with achieving beauty, elegance and efficiency in applying resources to achieve results that meet the needs of those who will use its products. A typical illustra-tion lies in one of the oldest aphorisms of aeronautics: “looks good, flies good,” meaning that an airplane that pleases the eye sitting on the ramp will generally perform well in the air. From this perspective, the architect is first an artist who brings to a task a sense of order, proportion, relationships, and basic principles, as well as comprehensive know-...
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