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The Power of Systems: Wolves Change the Course of Rivers

by zscott

Zane Scott, Vitech Vice President of Professional Services

In 1995, the National Park Service reintroduced a number of wolves into the Yellowstone National Park. Absent from that territory for 70 years, the wolves – captured and transported from Canada – were initially kept in reintroduction pens where they were fed the carcasses of elk, deer, moose, or bison that had died in and around the park. The wolves were guarded and cared for under protocols designed to minimize human contact and thus reduce human habituation among the wolves. They were quickly ready for release into the park. In the years since their release, they have increased in numbers and range, with at least 99 wolves in 10 packs living primarily in Yellowstone and 528 wolves living within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

The impact on the ecosystem has been significant and illustrates the power of a complex adaptive system. Some impacts were easily anticipated. The wolves have fed on deer and elk, reducing those populations from previous levels that had necessitated human intervention efforts due to habitat strain. But wolf predation also kicked off a phenomenon known as a “trophic cascade.” More...

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Categories: Misc


Time to Drop MBSE?

by dlong

By David Long, Vitech President

Model-based systems engineering (MBSE) … model-driven development (MDD) … model-based engineering (MBE) … model-centric engineering (MCE) … digital thread … digital tapestry. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare famously wrote “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In the case of systems engineering and the drive to models, the scent is clear but not necessarily sweet. The terminology has become muddied, overloaded, and confused with new variants proposed every few months. Is it time to simply drop MBSE? More...


Fundamentals: Often Overlooked, but Vital to Success

by zscott

Zane Scott, Vitech Vice President of Professional Services

Often our mistakes do not result from failing to understand the nuances of complex aspects of our problems. Instead, they are a result of becoming too comfortable with the fundamentals of our processes. That is exactly why athletic teams who experience a slump in performance return to a focus on the basic skills that undergird their execution.

The same is true in our systems engineering practice. Unless we understand and practice the fundamentals of our craft, we will be led into costly mistakes. To see how this works, let us revisit some fundamental concepts and then identify the mistakes that can emerge from not treating these concepts seriously.

Just what is a system? More...

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Categories: MBSE | Misc

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