I'm currently taking a grad course in Systems Engineering. I'm dreading it a bit as I've taken grad math for the past 3 years and this is my first writing course in a while. We're covering context diagrams (black box view) and functional block diagrams (white box view). Examples for the two are given below:


Functional Block

For an ongoing project, we're tasked to create these diagrams for a system we've conceived. In my case, I'm studying how solar energy can be more economical. However, I'm struggling to adapt this system to the diagrams. My system is not a traditional, physical product that has a beginning an end point, but rather is based on how stakeholders, including customers, utilities, and government, interact (I'm not including scientists as I'm not concerned with the production of the panels in this case). The most realizable end goal would be "have more utilities implement rooftop solar and/or solar farms". Any suggestions for how to shape this into linearized charts would be appreciated.

Edit: I'm more so looking for advice on what the system functions (blue boxes in 2nd diagram) would be. In that diagram, it's depicted as putting ingredients into a coffee maker, turning it on, and making coffee. Straightforward and simple. What would that analogy be for implementing more solar?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Draw a circle for each group, start labelling how 1 connects to another, e.g. provide X service, pay for X service, feedback to Y, etc, then from there you can start deriving it down to something which you can begin to flatten into a similar diagram, the multiple systems may mix and leverage one another, but that just means multiple groups provide inputs and outputs to others, kind of like a web. \$\endgroup\$ – Reroute May 16 '20 at 2:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, I originally drew something like that, however it didn't fit a linear flowchart of going from point A to point B. I suppose I'm more so looking for advice on what the system functions (the blue boxes in the functional block diagram) would be. I don't have enough knowledge of government and economics to tackle it. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew May 16 '20 at 3:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm afraid that is the project you have undertaken to look in to this, suppose you can flip the question, how does X benefit Y, The power companies do not like local generation, because it can cause floating islands at max supply voltage, governments like it because they can appear "green", some groups like it as its a good scam to fit Chinese knockoff gear with fake specifications at high markups, etc etc etc, dig in to these connections, \$\endgroup\$ – Reroute May 16 '20 at 3:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok I’ll take those ideas into consideration. Thank you \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew May 16 '20 at 4:39

Identify the stakeholders, such as pension funds holding the high-yield bonds of coal-fired power plants.


Identifying the stakeholders is part of the responsibility of system design.


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