Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Virtual System Integration

Architecture Centric Virtual Integration Practice

The SEI, research community, and industry have performed a number of pilot projects to demonstrate the practicality of the architecture-centric virtual integration approach. (See news, publications and project/initiatives sections at

The ongoing System Architecture Virtual Integration (SAVI) initiative by aerospace industry is maturing the virtual system integration approach into an industrial practice. SAVI members include Boeing Commercial, Airbus, Embraer, Rockwell Collins, BAE Systems, Honeywell, Goodrich, NASA, FAA, and the US. Army. The US. Army is also investigating virtual integration in the form of virtual system integration labs (Virtual SIL) to support acquisition of software-reliant systems.

The SEI has been engaged in integrating AADL into an architecture-centric engineering practice through a range of pilot projects and by frameworks and methods tailored to the model-based approach. See related technical reports here.

  • VUV method turning our understanding of the problem areas in embedded software systems that present challenges to developers into a systematic way of identifying potential technical risks in the software run-time architecture
  • modeling and validation of reference architectures, families of systems, model-supported ATAMs, Model-based IV&V framework.
  • reliability validation and improvement framework

The reliability validation and improvement framework outlines a technical strategy for systematically improving the quality of software-reliant systems with four pillars:

  • formalization of functional and non-functional requirements to allow for early validation of consistency and completeness
  • architecture-centric virtual integration to support model-based predictive analysis
  • static analysis methods to address the different quality dimensions
  • system and software assurance as a systematic way of establishing confidence in the qualification of a system and its software


Continued Research

The value of SAE AADL as a modeling notation with well-defined semantics has been recognized by the research community, and AADL has become a technology platform of choice in integrating analytical research technologies (See the AADL Wiki and In the News).

Building on this concept of virtual integration, SEI research in this area is currently focusing on

  • architecture fault modeling automating system safety and reliability analysis and validation to become a repeatable incremental process throughout the development lifecycle
  • integration with formalized requirement tracking and evidence gathering through confidence maps
  • understanding technical debt of architectural design decisions
  • contract-based predictive validation of cyber-physical systems