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Faculty & Research


Bicentric Diagrams: A Novel Approach to Manage Design Changes of Interdependent Components in Complex Systems

Working Paper
Complex systems can be conceived as a network of interconnected components. Such a network perspective has been used to predict how design changes in one or more components propagate to other components in the system. Despite such advances it remains an important challenge for engineering managers to identify the set of components that could potentially be affected if design changes affect two interdependent components. To address such a design challenge this paper introduces a novel approach, based on bicentric diagrams, to manage design changes of pairs of interdependent components of complex systems. Bicentric diagrams, a novel graph-based visualization technique, enable simultaneous identification of the components that would be directly or indirectly affected if design changes on a pair of interdependent components take place. The authors illustrate their approach by using bicentric diagrams to examine the impact of changing some critical interfaces of a climate control system and a large commercial aircraft engine.

Professor of Technology and Operations Management