Dr. Howard Eisner
System Architecting is one of the most important elements of Systems Engineering. Yet we appear to have serious and still unresolved questions about (a) what it is that constitutes an architecture, (b) a preferred and definitive method of architecting a system, (c) whether or not a “”views-first”” approach is superior to a ‘functions-first”” approach, (d) the way in which alternatives are and should be considered, and (e) whether and how software should be architected, especially for a system that contains appreciable amounts of both hardware and software.
This paper explores each of the above five questions, presenting some conclusions that may, or may not, be in consonance with conventional thinking on these matters. Of particular interest in the context of new trends in systems engineering are:
1. A clear definition of a system architecture
2. A preferred approach with respect to the architecting process
3. Clarification of the “”views-functions”” notions
4. How to consider alternative architectures, and
5. An approach to considering both hardware and software in the architecting process.
A summary is provided along with some suggestions for future research and actions.