MDAx: Agile Generation of Collaborative MDAO Workflows for Complex Systems
In this paper, a new application for collaborative Multidisciplinary Design Analysis and Optimization (MDAO) workflow modeling is presented. The MDAO Workflow Design Accelerator, short MDAx, enables workflow integrators and disciplinary experts to model, inspect, and explore workflow components and their relationships, and export workflow configurations for execution on integration platforms. The necessity for such an MDAO design environment stems from the inherent complexity in aircraft design, in which the segregation of disciplines on technical and managerial scale result in time intensive workflow integration efforts. In practice, it can be observed that the integration of simulation tools to solve real-life MDAO problems produces large, interconnected workflow systems that lead to a loss in oversight of the application network, lack in transparency due to the many participants, and consistency issues with the resulting models. To facilitate a more effective collaboration among disciplinary experts, MDAx provides an intuitive workflow modeling environment using an expansion of the XDSM (eXtended Design Structure Matrix) format with additional design rules. Various functionalities to automate repetitive design tasks to resolve ambiguities and inconsistencies in complex workflows are provided. Importance is given to fearless workflow design through con- tinuous feedback and user guidance without requiring expert knowledge in MDAO architecting, which shows considerable effects on the removal of barriers in the adoption of existing MDAO paradigms in collaborative teams. This paper introduces MDAx, its founding methodology and implementation, its user interface and effects on usability, and a case study demonstrating its impact on the coordination and communication among collaborators in a realistic design problem.