AAE 56000: System-of-Systems Modeling & Analysis


The primary focus of this course is on understanding, modeling, and analyzing an emerging class of problems called system-of-systems. In general, these problems are large-scale and interdisciplinary, since they involve systems and behaviors found in diverse fields such as engineering, economics, social science, policy, etc. The course presents recent developments in addressing system-of-systems problems, describes criteria, lexicon, and analysis methodology for their study, and, through team projects, allows students to explore the unknowns that remain in this emerging field. Applications for team projects will include national transportation systems, space exploration endeavors, and defense challenges, though others are possible in consultation with instructor.

Format 3 lecture hrs per week
Credit hours 3
Status Elective, Design, Aerospace Systems
Offered Spring
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Course instructor Dr. D. A. DeLaurentis
Text Readings provided throughout the semester
Assessment method 30% exams, 30% homework, 40% team project (subject to modification)

Course Website: https://engineering.purdue.edu/AAE/Academics/Courses/aae590k

Course Objectives

  • Recognize problems that have system-of-systems traits
  • Understand the structure and behavior of such problems
  • Translate problem to addressable form
  • Formulate tailored analysis methodologies for these problems
  • Emphasis: modern network science and agent-based modeling
  • Synthesize solution candidates by understanding decision criteria
  • Articulate both problem and analysis in written and verbal formats
  • Have fun!


Team projects will be undertaken and the output will consist of a presentation and a draft technical paper/article, both to be delivered at end of semester. Students will self-select into teams, and these teams will select a system-of-systems type problem in consultation with instructor. This problem will be the testbed to explore/learn/apply methods and techniques learned in class.


The following will likely be useful; others may be selected as needed by teams: MATLAB, Pajek, Microsoft Excel (with Crystal Ball Add-in), and Netlogo.

Topics (subject to modification):

  1. Course Introduction: "What is System-of-Systems (SoS) anyway..."
  2. Literature Review on SoS and System-of-Systems Engineering
  3. Characterizing & Delineating SoS problems
  4. A Lexicon and Abstraction for describing SoS problems
  5. Lineage and Related Domains – Representation
  6. Lineage and Related Domains – Design/Decide
  7. Lineage and Related Domains – Develop (Systems Engineering)
  8. Complexity/Complex Systems
  9. Artificial Intelligence
  10. Fundamentals of Evolutionary Modeling
  11. Multi-agent Simulations (MAS); agent-based modeling
  12. Some mathematical formulations (probability and statistics)
  13. Network Science
  14. Evaluation: solution spaces, evaluation architectures, ratios, scenarios…
  15. Evaluation/Optimization: multi-object, Pareto, robustness…
  16. Verification/Validation/Accreditation