Framework for Interoperability of Executable Architectures (FIEA)

FIEA is a language, tool framework, and methodology that enables the Air Force and DoD to share data among the many vendor specific tools and applications used in global joint service and multinational operations.

These tools, at best, provide a means for government agencies and their contractors to document their enterprise architectures:  they don’t facilitate the model-based analysis of architectures: a critical step in improving systems capability, acquisition, and investment returns.

Phase II Development

At the heart of the FIEA is an XML-based architectural definition language, the Executable Architecture Markup Language (EARL) developed by KBSI, that acts as the intermediary between DoDAF architectural modeling languages (e.g., IDEF) and execution languages like those based on the Colored Petri Net (CPN) and Object Constraint Language (OCL).  EARL supports the execution of a model for the purpose of validation, verification, correctness, and interoperability and serves as the backbone of FIEA’s component-based Intelligent Toolkit for Interoperable Architectures (ITIA).

ITIA is a collection of third party tools used to create, translate, and analyze models in various DoDAF views and products using EARL.  The ITIA framework is powered by an innovative ontology-driven translator code generator approach that ensures not only syntactic correctness but semantic correctness as well.  ITIA supports model execution for verification and validation (particularly with respect to interoperability), quantitative analysis (including multi-level performance projection), and the advanced visualization of models for browsing and documentation purposes.

FIEA enables better, more robust predictability, interoperability, and information sharing across DoD systems in support of joint service and multinational operations—an important emphasis of the DoD’s military strategy.  The FIEA technology also has significant commercial potential in fields involving simulation based design, virtual prototyping, real and virtual manufacturing, collaborative planning and scheduling, supply chain management, virtual enterprise engineering, and process management.

Summary

The FIEA initiative developed a technology triad to address issues of system of systems interoperability among vendor specific tools and applications:

  • The Executable Architecture Representation Language (EARL) is an intermediary between enterprise architectural modeling languages (e.g., using IDEF, UML) and model execution paradigms such as those based on the Colored Petri Nets, discrete event simulations, quantitative analyses (e.g., queuing theory), and service-oriented architectures (SOA).
  • The Intelligent Toolkit for Interoperable Architectures (ITIA) framework enables users to extract EARL models from enterprise models, translate them to low-level simulation tools, and generate SOA models. These functions have been rolled into KBSI’s MODELMOSAIC® knowledge management framework.
  • The FIEA methodology allows enterprise architecture developers, strategic military analysts and systems analysts to develop, modify, analyze, and publish systems-of-systems models that are verifiable, validatable, and reusable.

Rather than extending existing enterprise architecture formats to represent executable content, the FIEA technologies extract executable content from existing enterprise architecture representations, adding additional executable content to them and representing the resulting abstract executable model in EARL. The ITIA extracts the EARL models, translates them to low-level simulation tools, and generates SOA models. This FIEA methodology and the FIEA technologies bridge the gap between enterprise architecture models and the executable models that support their analysis, validation, and verification, greatly improving the performance, interoperability, planning, scheduling, and evaluation of systems-of-systems development.