Analysing Interdependencies of Complex Engineering Systems using a Digital Twin-Driven Design Structure Matrix.pdf (264.53 kB)

Analysing interdependencies of complex engineering systems using a digital twin-driven design structure matrix

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conference contribution
posted on 30.03.2021, 10:32 by Long Chen, Jennifer Whyte
As engineering design process becomes increasingly complex and interconnected, multidisciplinary teams need to work together, integrating diverse expertise across disciplinary models. Design team often finds it difficult to handle the complexity and interdependencies in both engineering systems and collaborative design process. Previous efforts have been made to address this problem through tracking the system interdependencies using design structure matrix (DSM). However, it is still challenging to deal with complex systems with large data sets and multiple disciplines involved. This paper proposes an effective way to simplify complexity and clarify interdependencies in complex systems through generating DSM from a digital twin (e.g., building information modelling). It firstly defined elements in the digitally generated DSM (digital-DSM) drawing on the Uniclass 2015 classification system and prior work, of which three levels were classified as system-of-systems level, project level, and asset level. Interdependencies in digital-DSM were then defined for different levels of elements correspondingly based on the geometric and semantic information in industry foundation classes (IFC). Finally, a prototype has been constructed to illustrate how the digital-DSM helps to improve the efficiency of late design change in complex engineering systems. The results show that the proposed digital-DSM can initiate a leaner design process through analysing interdependencies and further tracking the propagation of design changes clearly and conveniently.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Construction Research Congress 2020: Computer Applications


417 - 426


Construction Research Congress 2020: Computer Applications


American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Publisher statement

This material may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the American Society of Civil Engineers. This material may be found at

Publication date


Copyright date







Pingbo Tang; David Grau; Mounir El Asmar


Tempe, Arizona, United States

Event dates

8th March 2020 - 10th March 2020


Dr Long Chen. Deposit date: 26 March 2021