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A Multi-Model Reviewing Approach for Production Systems Engineering Models

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Abstract

Background. In Production Systems Engineering (PSE) models, which describe plants, represent different views on several engineering disciplines (such as mechanical, electrical and software engineering) and may contain up to 10,000s of instance elements, such as concepts, attributes and relationships. Validating these models requires an integrated multi-model view and the domain expertise of human experts related to individual views. Unfortunately, the heterogeneity of disciplines, tools, and data formats makes it hard to provide a technology-independent multi-model view. Aim. In this paper, we aim at improving Multi-Model Reviewing (MMR) capabilities of domain experts based on selected model visualisation methods and mechanisms. Method. We (a) derive requirements for graph-based visualisation to facilitate reviewing multi-disciplinary models; (b) introduce the MMR approach to visualise engineering models for review as hierarchical and linked structures; (c) design an MMR software prototype; and (d) evaluate the prototype based on tasks derived from real-world PSE use cases. For evaluation purposes we compare capabilities of the MMR prototype and a text-based model editor. Results. The MMR prototype enabled performing the evaluation tasks in most cases considerable faster than the standard text-based model editor. Conclusion. The promising results of the MMR approach in the evaluation context warrant empirical studies with a wider range of domain experts and use cases on the usability and usefulness of the MMR approach in practice.

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