Architecting systems for optimal lifetime adaptability

Avner Engel*, Yoram Reich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


System architecture decisions such as the assignment of components to modules can have a large impact on the system's lifetime adaptability and cost. We broaden systems architecting theory by considering components' option values and interface costs when making the assignment decision. We propose an analytical model to identify the trade-offs between an inexpensive but less adaptable system and an expensive but adaptable one. We demonstrate the model with a realistic example of an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) and use a genetic algorithm to identify an architecture that optimally balances cost and adaptability. Finally, we compensate variations stemming from uncertainties in the input data by means of sensitivity analysis, depicting optimal architectures via lattice charts. By way of example, we demonstrate that optimization provides considerably more cost effective lifetime architectures. In addition, conducting sensitivity analysis combined with lattice charts enable the selection of significantly more robust architectures when the input data is inherently imprecise. The approach received preliminary validation in several real industrial pilot cases.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering Design
Subtitle of host publicationDesign for Harmonies, ICED 2013
Number of pages10
Volume4 DS75-04
StatePublished - 2013
Event19th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2013 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 19 Aug 201322 Aug 2013


Conference19th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2013
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of


FundersFunder number
European Commission262907


    • Architecture option theory
    • Design for adaptability
    • Design structure matrix
    • Financial options theory
    • S-curve
    • Transaction cost theory


    Dive into the research topics of 'Architecting systems for optimal lifetime adaptability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this