Mastering Complexity: an Overview


Claude Barrouil

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Aerospace systems are certainly part of those of which the complexity has been dramatically and continuously increasing for several decades. Not only are the vehicles increasingly more sophisticated but, since they are interacting increasingly with other so-called “intelligent” systems, human or machines, the overall system is even more complex. Here, the word “complexity” is used in the common sense: it just means “too big to fit in the head of a human being”. We undertake projects that are always aimed beyond the previous ones and we now face challenges that cannot be addressed without the aid of information technologies, which extend human capabilities. We are at a point where the matter is not “simply” to invent new systems, but to invent codes that will help to invent new complex systems.
This fourth Aerospace Lab issue is dedicated to various techniques used to address some of the most difficult issues in complex aerospace system design. It is not focused on a sub-class of aspects; it is a gallery of articles that will encompass the main issues to be addressed when considering advanced aerospace systems. There are two groups of articles: those related
to embedded system concepts and those related to concept design aid.