Specification and Description Language Flowchart and Symbols

“The thing is – continuity of strategic direction and continuous improvement in how you do things are absolutely consistent with each other. In fact, they’re mutually reinforcing.” – Michael Porter

Specialized modes of communication have come into existence in recent decades to signify large cycles of technical advancements registered by human civilization. These forms of communication found formulation and expression to cater to the growth and expansion of different aspects of organized human activity, such as industrialization. According to technical literature, “specification and description language (SDL) is an object-oriented formal language used to describe real time systems”; SDL “is intended for the specification of complex, event-driven, real time, and interactive applications involving many concurrent activities that communicate using discrete signals.” Therefore, SDL diagrams are widely used to design and operate railroad control systems, remote control and remote monitoring, satellite networks, automotive systems, robotic systems, and tele-presence systems, and others.

Designers and specialists of industrial processes that work with specification and description language could construct a schematic that hinges on the outlines of a classic geometric shape, the triangle. This technique gains form when they label the three points as ‘problem entity’, ‘conceptual model’, and ‘computerized model’. Pathways emerge outside the triangle to signify attempts at conceptual validation; the attainment of such validation is critical to spur progress in the given project. Subsequently, stages such as experimentation, analysis, and modeling emerge inside the flowchart to indicate the operations of specification and description language. This instance of a modern modeling enterprise must find implementation in computer-driven modeling syntax such as C++.  SDL is engineered to operate smoothly over distributed systems and therefore, the simulated model finds successful execution at different locations powered by modern computing infrastructure.

Connectors and connecting symbols are central to the operation of different renditions of specification and description language. Flow lines find expression as unbroken connectors, while various forms of arrows indicate process transitions, bi-directional movements, toggle mechanisms, and exception associations. Additionally, delays between signals are specified by special arrows flowing through channels designed into the elements of such technical language. These connectors and connecting symbols can visually elaborate a simulated system and its components such as a variety of blocks, processes, states, variables, and messages. A mass of these elements help describe the sequences typical of industrial prototypes, thereby enabling designers to ideate, refine, and cement new processes populated by assemblies, sub-assemblies, power trains, and others.

SDL processes can present interesting demonstrations of connectivity engineered inside a particular system. When inside flowcharts, specification and description language offers a sequence of state changes typically triggered by the receipt of input messages. The start of a process finds expression in a small rectangle featuring rounded edges and coded in green. The subsequent steps in the illustration could include ‘wait‘ stages, wherein inputs are pending. These structures are similar in appearance to start but rendered in red. Such mechanisms can find applications in modern traffic signal and control systems connected with automated information input devices. Additionally, the flowchart can feature extensions to such systems; these extensions stem from the necessity to integrate inputs and relays from other locations. In sum, these components help construct a modern, data-enabled, scalable, digital/electronic network (or system) that can assist humankind defeat the increasing congestion typical of roads and highways.

Parallel processes can emerge inside schema that describe certain variations of specification and description language. These processes could be essential to the functioning of complex manufacturing processes that hinge on the input of multiple signals. When developed inside flowcharts, these manifest as multiple silos identical in construction, but featuring critical variations in stages signified in red, brown, and green. In terms of description in the real world, such mechanisms can animate manufacturing processes that output different types of stock (for instance, metal products clad in a variety of external formations). In addition, such flowcharts could leverage wild cards denoted by, for instance, an asterisk; this symbol signifies the process will proceed to completion despite the nature of signal received from surrounding processes, sub-processes, and others. We note these possibilities empower process designers to engineer vast degrees of variation in modern industrial processes, thereby validating the business case for implementing automation on a large scale.

Data, and its many types, forms the lifeblood of systems designed using specification and description language. Engineers and designers have created a variety of data for use in such systems; these include pre-defined data, structured data, array and set data, enumeration data, and others. Each type of data transmits specific messages inside the system, thereby enabling different components to communicate with each other and animate a variety of mechanisms. These types of data – dispersed widely within the system – power the tone and tenor of process control mechanisms, thereby generating the desired levels of performance within a system. In addition, the behavior of various forms of data enables designers to survey system performance, allowing refinements to find introduction into the system. Flowcharts can be instrumental in prototyping and translating an envisaged system into a functional application that performs in real world conditions.

Sequential layers inside modern schematic blueprints can be leveraged to describe the manifold implementations of specification and description language. This finds illustration in the different routes of a signal traveling inside the system. The topmost level of a flowchart can describe signals traveling at the block level; the subsequent layers can denote signals at system level and delayed signals (traveling in consonance with the demands of a certain process or sub-process). The flowchart allows a realistic portrayal of variations in signal transmission, a fact that allows readers to appreciate the complexities built into modern systems. Alternatively, designers could fashion separate segments inside flowcharts as part of attempts to magnify the depiction of an operating process. Further, designers could add narratives to external segments in a bid to boost meaning and convey additional information pertaining to complexities depicted inside diagrams.

When we survey the essential nature of specification and description language and its primary applications, we find SDL comprises static components and dynamic components. The former helps describe major structures of a system, how these establish mutual connections, and the types of signals deployed to drive communications among these structures. On the other hand, dynamic components describe a system’s operation in terms of the inception, life cycle, and termination of various processes; in addition, dynamic components also signify transitions that animate a system. These abstractions must find some form of representation inside flowcharts; this is accomplished through text and graphics positioned appropriately on visual planes. We note certain designers and engineers may elect to construct flowcharts on multiple transparencies; such a stance helps imprint a limited number of visual representations on each layer, adding clarity that benefits readers.

These passages enable us to appreciate the many aspects of complexity that attend most applications of specification and description language. It may be stated that the visual representation of systems – when enabled by SDL inside expansive flowcharts – generates complex, layered, dense visuals (and images) that convey different strands of technical meaning. These illustrations could represent puzzles to the eyes of the average reader, but convey varied grades of meaning to the trained eyes of engineers, process experts, developers, and designers. Further, the use of symbols helps encode meaning and condenses chains of thought that preceded the construction of a simulated system. In enabling these scenarios, SDL furthers the cause of technical progress and technology-driven evolution in the present day.

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