When the 2022 IEEE International Symposium on Systems Engineering met in Vienna, Austria in October, DeAndre Johnson was excited to be among the presenters. “It was a true international group,” said Johnson, who is a PhD Student and a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Virginia (UVA) Department of Engineering Systems and Environment. “I only met one person from Vienna – others were from Germany, Turkey, France, Italy, and from the US as well. They were definitely appreciative of the people who attended the conference, and came to listen.”
Johnson presented his work on business process models, Risk Identification with Entity Attributes Diagrams in Business Process Modeling at the conference. His coauthors were his advisor, James H. Lambert, Director of UVA’s Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems, and collaborator Vidal Melo of the University of São Paulo, Brazil. At UVA in his Ph.D. program, Johnson works with CCALS on several research projects sponsored by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Port of Virginia, National Science Foundation, FERMATA LLC, and Virginia Department of Transportation.
“I wanted to look for an innovative approach to make business process models more transparent by integrating risk identification into those models,” said Johnson. “This way you get to understand what mistakes are being made and why.
“A lot of outdated business process models don’t address vulnerabilities of cascading effects of human life events, so we created an innovative one from scratch. In the modern world, the risks are so much more available, and as time goes on a lot of things we took for granted may not be here for us in the future, which leaves us exposed.”
Johnson’s interest was piqued by his studies and observations, and by reading some papers that Lambert had published almost two decades ago. “I expanded and extrapolated on that,” he said. “Once you have this model you can apply it to enterprises of companies, government, and military, identifying which risks may be large scale, unprecedented – that’s the stuff we should look forward to tackling.”
Reactions at the conference were positive. “People were excited and asking questions. I was able to talk with professional systems engineers and get insights from them and see how they’d use my approach in their system, and I learned from them as well,” Johnson said. He plans to continue his work, exploring more risk integration with other types of business process models.
The IEEE is the largest association of technical professionals in the world, with 423,000 members across 160 countries. The IEEE Systems Council addresses theory, methods and applications of systems engineering and coordinated the October 2022 ISSE Symposium.