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Towards an architectural viewpoint for systems of software intensive systems


John Brondum and Liming Zhu



An important part of architectural knowledge is the capture of the environment and external system relationships through contextual viewpoints[35]. However, the semantic definitions of software relationships[29][23][26] do not adequately capture inter-system level relationships[6], and offers no guidance on implicit or indirect relationships[35]. Yet the architect is tasked with the very responsibility of defining external relationships[11] leaving him/her either unaware of critical relationships or, to ’roll their own’ based on aggregations of code-level call/use structures. This leads to critical gaps in the architectural documentation and communication problems within Systems of Software intensive Systems (S3) environments - if undetected can cause serious problems for development projects[3]. S3 environments may also restrict the sharing of architectural knowledge due to either legal or contractual constraints, or contain an overwhelming amount of documentation due to size and number of involved systems - either scenario further adds to the challenge of identifying and describing the relationships.

This paper presents a novel and light-weight S3 Architectural Viewpoint consisting of 1) an extensible taxonomy of system level relationships, 2) with a systematic, repeatable technique to detect both immediate and linked system level relationships. The goal is an architectural approach for the sharing and analysis of architectural knowledge relating to software system relationships in an S3 or ecosystem environment. The research is on-going and developed through the mining of existing software ecosystems and industry S3 architectures. Validation will be performed through case studies from industry collaborations.

BibTeX Entry

    author           = {Brondum, John and Zhu, Liming},
    month            = mar,
    year             = {2010},
    keywords         = {software architecture, systems of systems, architectural views},
    title            = {Towards an Architectural Viewpoint for Systems of Software Intensive Systems},
    booktitle        = {SHARK at ICSE 2010},
    address          = {Cape Town, South Africa}


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