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Comparison and Application of Metrics That Define the Components Modularity in Complex Products

[+] Author Affiliations
Qi D. Van Eikema Hommes

General Motors Research and Development Center, Warren, MI

Paper No. DETC2008-49140, pp. 287-296; 10 pages
  • ASME 2008 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 20th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology; Second International Conference on Micro- and Nanosystems
  • Brooklyn, New York, USA, August 3–6, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4328-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3831-5
  • Copyright © 2008 by General Motors


As the content and variety of technology increases in automobiles, the complexity of the system increases as well. Decomposing systems into modules is one of the ways to manage and reduce system complexity. This paper surveys and compares a number of state-of-art components modularity metrics, using 8 sample test systems. The metrics include Whitney Index (WI), Change Cost (CC), Singular value Modularity Index (SMI), Visibility-Dependency (VD) plot, and social network centrality measures (degree, distance, bridging). The investigation reveals that WI and CC form a good pair of metrics that can be used to assess component modularity of a system. The social network centrality metrics are useful in identifying areas of architecture improvements for a system. These metrics were further applied to two actual vehicle embedded software systems. The first system is going through an architecture transformation. The metrics from the old system revealed the need for the improvements. The second system was recently architected, and the metrics values showed the quality of the architecture as well as areas for further improvements.

Copyright © 2008 by General Motors



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