CASoS Engineering
Sandia National Laboratories
Casos Engineering Lead:

Diagram of feedback rich research, development, and application relationship

CASoS Engineering intrinsically integrates Research, Development, and Application within the context of problem solution

Framework Lead
Arlo Ames

Environment Lead
Walt Beyeler

Applications Lead
Theresa J. Brown


Phoenix Pilot

Diagram of Phoenix development processIn accord with the Roadmap, we created the Phoenix Pilot in 2008 to begin building the discipline of CASoS Engineering. The Pilot implements CASoS Engineering principles combining the bottom up Complex Systems and Complex Adaptive Systems view with the top down Systems Engineering and System-of-Systems view.  Now integrating over ten individual projects with more than $6M in funding, the pull of applications (real-world problems) is advancing the development of the CASoS Engineering discipline: grounded in reality, the theory and practice conducted together are working to extend our understanding and control of that reality. The goal of the Phoenix Pilot is to engineer solutions to problems within CASoS while developing a community of practice and the CASoS Engineers to populate it. A summary, as presented at the 8th International Conference on Complex Systems, is given in Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems (CASoS) Engineering: Mapping Aspirations to Problem Solutions. Both short and long presentations are also available for download. The full description of this evolution to date is provided in the "living manuscript" Phoenix: Complex Adaptive System of Systems (CASoS) Engineering Version 1.0.

The Phoenix Pilot begins to implement the CASoS Engineering Initiative by developing CASoS Engineering principles that can be applied to solve real world problems while developing a community of practice and the CASoS Engineers to populate it. Undertaken with the active collaboration of real-world problem holders, the Phoenix Pilot implements the principles identified in the Roadmap for the Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems (CASoS) Engineering Initiative, extending its theoretical bases into a structure and  processes for application.

Envisioned to operate much like the US Constitution, providing a framework of principles that allows for evolution both within it and of it, Phoenix combines the bottom-up Complex Systems and Complex Adaptive Systems views with the top-down Systems Engineering and System-of-Systems views.

The Roadmap’s vision was to drive the CASoS Initiative’s structure using technical objectives focused on overarching problem(s) across many applications and through recognition that the Initiative itself is a CASoS. Phoenix has instantiated this vision using both established and frontier applications. As a CASoS, Phoenix’s definition and development intrinsically and continuously emerges from application; our internal structure grows interactively and changes both Phoenix and the environment in which it exists, with extension to Sandia and the outside world.

The functional structure of Phoenix has formed to fundamentally integrate Research, Development and Application.

Integrative effective solutions require development of new theory in science and engineering and the creation of a community of practice that applies that theory to important, high-impact problems. Within Phoenix, project-oriented teams are applying the problem definition and solution approaches of CASoS Engineering to just such high impact problems in complex socio-economic-technical systems. Discoveries from these implementations are driving evolution in CASoS theory, its process components, and the technical environment.

For a deeper explanation of the Phoenix Pilot and CASoS Engineering Initiative theoretic principles and functional structure, see the summary paper Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems (CASoS) Engineering: Mapping Aspirations to Problem Solutions delivered at the 8th International Conference on Complex Systems and presented as the keynote at the 6th IEEE International Conference on Systems of Systems Engineering, both in June 2011.

“Living” documents (evolving with each discovery) that provide more extensive writeups include:

We invite problem-holders and people seeking their technical solutions to bring their projects to Phoenix for active collaboration in the application (and evolution!) of CASoS Engineering.  Whether your aspirations are to Predict, Prevent or Cause, Prepare, Monitor, Control, Recover, or to Change a CASoS, application of CASoS Engineering Framework principles and processes will support solution Decision, determination of Robustness of Decision, and Enabling Resilience.

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