SAKE – System analysis and coordination of flexible complex embedded system design processes

Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)

Duration: From 2007 to 2009




Project Partners


Initial Situation and Problem

Complex embedded systems are characterized by a modular design of different, interacting and partly custom-designed hard and software components. Today it has become the norm in the system industry for these components to be delivered by specialized suppliers.

The contracting assignment of external suppliers leads, however, to an early fixation of the attributes of components in the development process. At the beginning of development especially requirements and design data have to be based on estimations. This is due to the fact that the real values and dependencies between the different system components are not yet available.

This leads to decreasing flexibility within the development process. Due to the existing uncertainties, the varying objectives of the partners and the asymmetric information, the lack of flexibility can lead to inefficiencies or even to the breakup of development projects.

Overcoming these difficulties requires improved coordination between the partners before and during the development process.


Objective and Approach

In light of these difficulties, the objective of the project SAKE is to develop approaches for improvement of collaborative development of complex, embedded systems through the combination and integration of economic and engineering techniques. The project is fundamentally based on the analysis and estimation of techno-economic relations that exist in development of embedded systems. As soon as these coherences are known, a multitude of technical and business measures can be taken.

It is the aim to increase flexibility in development process applying business contract models and mechanisms of supply chain management.

From the technical perspective will be determined how the system design can be validated in spite of adaptable specifications.

Foremost four questions have to be answered in the course of the project. Firstly, technical dependencies among the layout data will be appraised. To this end, known design patterns are identified und resulting dependencies in the system are deducted. The second question deals with the estimation of the reliability of data from a technical point of view. For this purpose, the influence of the various characteristics of several components and interfaces for the overall result will be examined. The third question deals with options for increasing business efficiency of the decentralized development process. For this, appropriate coordination mechanisms and incentive schemes will be developed, which guarantee that all partners behave conform to the overall objective. The last question requires a process model for integrative adoption in decentralized development projects to be developed. In this context, the acquired technical and economic relations will be integrated and applicability of the approach will be discussed.


Further Information

So far, the SAKE-project lead to the following publications:

  • Rox, J.; Schmidt, K.; Winter, A.; Spengler, T.S.; Rolf, E. (2010): Estimating and Mitigating Design Risk in a Flexible Distributed Design Process, IEEE Embedded Systems Letters, Vol. 2, No 2, 35-38
  • Schmidt, K.; Walther, G.; Spengler, T.S.; Ernst, R. (2009): Towards coordination of decentralized embedded system development processes, FLEISCHMANN, B; BORGWARDT, K. H.; KLEIN, R.; TUMA, A. (Hrsg): Operations Research Proceedings 2008, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 221-226