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Models in industry, 20 years after UML 1.0 – Reflecting on the Thales experience

As we are about to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UML, industry has never been so close to fully harnessing the potential of model-based engineering (MBE). Never so close, yer not fully there, still struggling on the path towards transforming the engineering of complex, long-lived critical systems.

Thales is a major player in the domains of defense, security, aerospace and transportation systems. Over the past 20 years, Thales has been actively developing internal as well as open innovation modelling ecosystems able to sustainably support engineering transformation stakes – know-how and training, organisation and processes, concepts and methods, technology and tooling. Actual roll out of industrial-strength systems model-based engineering has been underway since 2006, with significant business achievements.

The challenges we are tackling today partly reflect the growing complexity of the systems that we need to produce, deliver, maintain and evolve, and a growing complexity of the organisations and workflows to address these developments. Those challenges also reflect a possibly emerging « post-MBE» situation where models of various types become a common practice, and more and more data are being produced and shared, leading to stringent global data management issues.

Key challenges include scale and heterogeneity; effective abstraction and semantics management; cross-discipline human collaboration, design exploration and decision making; effective development chains for complex systems-on-chip; risk management; verification enhancement, including better integration of simulation capability and industrially tractable correct-by-design.

This talk will be looking at the Thales experience and lessons learned, and will try and point at current industry challenges where more focus from the research community could be of help.

Véronique Normand is in charge of the research & technology strategy in the domain of systems and software advanced engineering methods and tools at the Thales Group Technical Directorate.

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