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Heraclitean Ontology for Specifying Systems

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Recently, there has been renewed interest in applying (formal) ontologies to develop real-world semantics for conceptual modeling that guides the modeling process. The best-known ontology in this context is the BWW (Bunge-Wand-Weber) ontology, which provides a classification of concepts to represent the application domain in a specific categorization. BWW has been used to analyze and evaluate UML/SysML constructs and to map them to ontological concepts. This paper examines complex systems that rely on SysML-based modeling for designing and managing projects using model-driven process. It is claimed that such methodology ensures high quality, trustworthiness, cost efficiency, and schedule compliance throughout the life cycle of a project. The problem is that the current dominant paradigm in the model-driven process, motivated by UML and SysML, focuses on a multiplicity of specifications. It is claimed that building a meaningful single model that encompasses the whole system is impossible; thus, series of models are produced that offer various “views” of the system. Nevertheless, the thesis of this paper is that SysML achieves only marginal success as a modeling tool because of its multiplicity and fragmentation of representations, and its failure to furnish a nucleus around which different phases of the development process can evolve. Accordingly, a new ontological foundation is proposed, based on the notion of flow adopted from the teachings of Heraclitus, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. This approach is applied to a sample study case utilized in the SysML-based software development process called CORE (Vitech Corporation) that presents an integrated, model-driven systems engineering environment. The results point to the viability and advantages of the new methodology in comparison with SysML system specification.
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Heraclitus; Ontology; WBB Ontology; Conceptual Modeling; Model-Driven Process; SysML

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