Project Goals

  • Analyze an existing large scale system or organization for which you can find data and learn about its domain, history, structure, inter-connections, and constraints.
  • Example systems that have been analyzed in prior years include local telephone and electrical distribution networks, storage and exchange of documents by the UN climate change study, patterns of music sales of different genres of popular music, the supply chain of communication companies and supporting equipment, a local internet wireless system in Cambridge, and the structure of a consumer product and that of the design team that created it.
  • Use course material to analyze the system
    • Pay attention to data availability and quality, and note any observational limits
    • Test methods and tools for usefulness
    • Identify opportunities for quantitative analysis and necessary qualitative aspects
    • Identify dominant structural patterns, such as hierarchy of various types, if applicable
    • Apply network analysis and other quantitative tools
    • Identify architectural types and compare to canonical forms
    • Understand system ilities and constraints
    • Make comparison to other systems

Project Deliverables

Project proposal Lec #5

Project status presentation

Prepare a power point status report (approx. 15 minutes) for review with the project faculty

Lec #12

Quantitative aspects presentation

Prepare a power point report emphasizing the quantitative aspects of your project (network analysis and other tool application). An approximate time of about 15 minutes is appropriate.

Lec #21

Final presentation

Each student will prepare slides to support about a 30 minute final presentation on their project

Lec #24
Final written report Lec #25

Project Proposal

Propose a system to use as a semester case study for application of course knowledge.

  • Include a name or descriptive title for the system
  • Roughly delineate a “boundary” or what is in and what is out of your system.

Tell us briefly:

  • Why the proposed system is interesting to you
  • What you hope to learn by studying it
  • What data sources are you aware of that may help you build a specific model that can be objectively exercised
  • What you hope the results of the study will add to our collective knowledge about system architecture

This assignment should be fulfilled in the form of a one page written document.

Final Presentation Objectives

  • Creative application and testing of several conceptual aspects of course material.
  • The work should involve observational as well as modeling or theory approaches and try to connect this analysis to change or design issues for the system

Final Report Content

  • System description
    • Stimulus, main actors, stakeholders
    • Sources of needs and requirements
    • System Extent (Boundary and quantities)
    • Mission statements, explicit if it exists or “reasonably presumed” for purposes of project
  • System historical background and evolution
    • History of each version fielded, if applicable
    • Important changes in system architectural structure, defined by methods we have been discussing
    • Its size, scale, network metrics or other descriptors over time as possible
  • Assessment of system effectiveness over time including current critical issues
    • Related to mission statement
    • Related to system characteristics like flexibility, complexity, robustness, cost, performance etc.
    • Related to metrics derived from network analysis or others
  • Potential architectural improvements
  • Reflections and comparisons (what worked and didn’t with respect to methods and tools learned this term)
    • Analogies to other systems or kinds of systems
    • What did you learn by doing this project
    • What aspects of system architecture analysis and description did you find strong or weak, more or less useful, etc.
  • Written Material must be less than 20 pages of text (1.5 spaced) but can include various additional graphs and tables.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes