Since its introduction, Syndeia has supported Model-Based Engineering (MBE). Syndeia has enabled users to create connections between models in different tools and to use those connections to compare and update those models, but it has only displayed the connections in simple tabular formats. Syndeia 3.0 provides some important new options for visualizing the model connections.

Two types of visualization are offered:

  • Global Visualization shows a large number of connections in a single image
  • Local Visualization starts from a single system element and expands to show a sequential chain (or chains) of connected elements

Watch a quick video introduction to the visualization capabilities in Syndeia 3.0.

In Part 1 of this blog series, we will look at some of the features for Global Visualization. Later blog posts will introduce aspects of Local Visualization, as well as the continuing evolution of this capability as Syndeia grows.

Figure 1 Global visualization of a SysML model connected to Teamcenter, DOORS NG, and Simulink

Figure 1: Global visualization of a SysML model connected to Teamcenter, DOORS NG, and Simulink

Figure 1 displays seventeen connections between a SysML model and three external engineering software tools: Teamcenter (Siemens), DOORS NG (IBM Rational), and Simulink (The MathWorks Inc.). Each color-coded node around the circle represents an element in one of those four models:

  • Requirements in DOORS NG
  • Items in Teamcenter
  • Models in Simulink
  • Blocks, Requirements and Activities in MagicDraw

This visualization was created by right-clicking on any element in the SysML model (browser or diagram) or the Syndeia dashboard and selecting Syndeia → Visualize → View All Connections. The graph display opens in the user’s default web browser.

Global Visualization provides a quick overview of key MBE data for the graph:

  • What models and tools are connected?
  • What kinds of connections?
  • How many connections?
  • How many connections per node?

and how the complexity of the graph evolves as the system develops.

Figure 2: Artifact and Connection Type Filtering Choices

Figure 2: Artifact and Connection Type Filtering Choices

As the number of connections grows, the amount of information displayed can quickly become overwhelming.  Syndeia offers a filter capability to reduce display complexity (Figure 2). The user can filter by node (what type(s) of model element to display) or by edge (what kinds of connections to display).  Syndeia supports multiple connection types:

  • Reference, which provides a traceable link between elements
  • Data Map, which allows comparison and synchronization of element contents (e.g. values)
  • Model Transform, which allows comparison and synchronization of element contents and structure (e.g. values and parts)
  • Function Wrap, which allows execution of linked models

In addition to filtering, Syndeia’s Global Visualization also allows the user to highlight and examine the individual nodes and edges. When hovering the cursor over a node, as shown in Figure 3, the blue box in the upper left corner identifies the model element represented by the node and the connections from that node.  Those connections are also highlighted on the graph with thicker lines.  Similarly, hovering over a connection identifies the nodes connected.

Figure 3: Syndeia Global Visualization, highlighting two connections to a SysML requirement

Figure 3: Syndeia Global Visualization, highlighting two connections to a SysML requirement

It is worth noting the following:

  • This visualization only shows inter-model connections, i.e. the connections crossing the boundaries of models and tools. Other forms of visualizations in Syndeia can show both inter- and intra-model connections.
  • The visualization does not show directionality for a connection. Syndeia-managed connections are intrinsically non-directional, allowing for flow of information in both directions unless a user has read/write access control enforced in specific models or repositories. Data governance in many organizations determines which repositories are the master and cannot be modified without proper procedure and authorization. Syndeia relies on the access control policies of the native repositories (e.g. PLM and ALM) to allow (or disallow) the flow of information between models managed in those repositories.

In Part 2 of this blog series on Syndeia Visualization, we will look at some options for tracing connections from a specific starting node, allowing a user to focus in on the other model elements (within or across models) that impact the specific node, or that may be impacted by changes in that node.

Related blog posts:

Dirk Zwemer

Dirk Zwemer

Dr. Dirk Zwemer (dirk.zwemer@intercax.com) is President of Intercax LLC (Atlanta, GA), a supplier of MBE engineering software platforms like Syndeia and ParaMagic. He is an active teacher and consultant in the field and holds Level 4 Model Builder-Advanced certification as an OMG System Modeling Professional.