Systems of systems engineering thesaurus approach: from concept to realisation

The developing discipline of Systems of Systems Engineering (SoSE) is gaining attention in an increasingly broad range of domains; however, each domain comes with its own set of terms and concepts so that there may be confusion between different domains ostensibly engaged in similar challenges. SoSE is faced with concept multiplicity (one term, more than one concept) and term multiplicity (one concept, more than one term). It is unrealistic to expect long-established domains to simply change ontology to match with other domains, but a means of recognising related concepts and terms across domains and across industrial sectors will enable more rapid progress to be made in the development of SoSE. The approach taken to generating a thesaurus, through which such relationships can be documented, is presented. The approach is essentially consultative among SoSE experts and the current version of the thesaurus is available online. A combination of problem statement definition and logical decomposition has been used; the method is described and application is illustrated using well-known terms