Software & Systems Engineering

Software & Systems Engineering

Modeling and implementation of large and complex software systems

In numerous industries such as automotive or fintech, businesses are challenged by the intricate development of sophisticated technical and socio-technical systems, demanding a meticulous approach to ensure rapid market adoption and enduring viability. The evolution towards autonomous, interactive, and dynamically networked products, propelled by software innovation, underscores the need for innovative, rigorous methodologies within the domain of Software & Software Engineering.

Today’s software-intensive systems and services are characterized by:

  • Increasing amounts of software-defined functionality enabled by the availability of processing power, bandwidth, data, and services.
  • Often conflicting design constraints and objectives stemming from user-centric demands and non-negotiable regulations and norms.
  • High demand for non-functional properties such as safety, robustness, availability, security, privacy, and maintainability.
  • Fading boundaries between systems and between application domains in system-of-systems.
  • Deep integration of software within complex cyber-physical systems.
  • High degree of automation and autonomy and integration of AI-intensive software.

Research focus area Software & Systems Engineering (SSE)

The engineering of software-intensive systems needs to cope with this complexity, which calls for novel approaches to support continuous, seamless development, and quality assurance across multidisciplinary boundaries between organizations, teams, platforms, and systems.

The development of such approaches falls within the scope of the Software & Systems Engineering (SSE) research focus area at fortiss. We investigate and evaluate models, methodologies, and tools for the continuous engineering and systematic evolution of software-intensive systems and services. To this end, we conduct applied and evidence-based research with relevant industries to solve next-generation problems in software and systems engineering.


The fortiss research focus area Software & Systems Engineering seamlessly integrates expertise from various competence areas to develop profound research methods and innovative solutions.

Efficiently deal with volatile and heterogenous requirements

Our area of expertise focuses on developing practical approaches to efficiently handle multifunctional requirements. These occur particularly in early, volatile, user-centered, and highly regulated environments, as well as in data-based software development phases.

► Requirements Engineering


Methods and tools to tame the complexity of cyber-physical systems

We investigate novel methods based on semantically rich system models to reduce engineering costs and time-to-market for cyber-physical systems. With our open-source tools, we validate our approach for automating design decisions and validating architectures and model artifacts based on advanced techniques such as formal methods and simulation.

► Model-based Systems Engineering


Expertise for outstanding software quality

In the Center for Code Excellence we conduct research on new processes, methods, and tools for software developers to support them in their daily work and ensure high software quality and maintainability. To this end, we focus on AI methods to aid developers and provide automated assessments for organizations.

► Center for Code Excellence


Software Engineering for data-intensive applications

We focus on developing test automation tools and practices to make test engineering more applicable and effective, including traditional rule-based software, as well as sophisticated data-driven AI-based software, up to complex cyber-physical systems.

► Competence Automated Software Testing


Projects and software


fortiss offers structured approaches for company partners to conduct self-assessments using lightweight, web-based tools that help them to analyze their problems and potentials in various software and systems engineering disciplines. The fortiss Quick Checks are available for the areas of:

  • Software engineering
  • Requirements engineering
  • AI engineering
  • Energy

► fortiss Quick Checks


fortiss applies innovative approaches and methods to create open-source software for innovative solutions in numerous application areas:

  • Structured model-based approaches for specifying engineering artifacts seamlessly
  • User-friendly integration of advanced techniques into open-source tool prototypes, including formal methods, (co-)simulation, and testing
  • ML-assisted approaches for quality assurance and verification across different use cases, including conversational tools and automation
  • Generative AI approaches to support the software development process.
  • Tool-supported approaches to ensuring regulatory compliance, conformance, and assurance

► fortiss open-source software


fortiss conducts systematic evaluation and dissemination of research results in the form of demonstrators, open-source software, networking events, conferences, and industry trainings.

► fortiss Labs

► fortiss Transfer services

► Events



    Use cases

    Requirements Engineering

    • Systematic elicitation and structured documentation of requirements across multiple domains via holistic artifact model blueprints
    • Semi-automated elicitation of requirements from regulations and support for compliance checks across complex regulatory domains, e.g., in the financial and insurance sector

    Design, Architecture and Development

    • Automated generation and optimization of software and hardware architectures for cyber-physical systems based on design constraints and objectives, e.g., in the aviation, automotive, and Industry 4.0 domains
    • Structured reuse and product line engineering, e.g., in the aviation domain

    Testing and Quality Assurance

    • ML-based and search-based approaches to assist the generation of test cases, e.g., in the automotive domain
    • Analysis and management of model quality and consistency


    Project Software4KMU

    Project start

    Digitization made easy – online toolbox for SMEs

    In practice, SMEs often lack the necessary expertise for individual software solutions, their effective implementation and maintenance. This leads to uncertainties and incorrect assumptions, which in turn represents a major obstacle to investment in digital value creation. In order to meet this challenge, an easily accessible offer is to be created to impart software engineering knowledge in SMEs.

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    Software AutoFOCUS 3

    New functions for the development of complex systems

    AutoFOCUS 3 (AF3) is a proven research platform that implements the latest results from fortiss in the field of model-based development. AF3 is available as open source software, and the new version 2.24 offers numerous new functions that further enhance the platform's capabilities.

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    Transformation hub for the German automotive industry

    The research partner consortium has been commissioned to set up a nationwide digitalization transformation hub focusing on software and engineering. fortiss contributes its many years of expertise from the automotive industry to the project and represent software component development and testing through the Center for Code Excellence.

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      Software & Systems Engineering

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    Software & Systems Engineering


    Whitpaper Requirements Engineering Cover

    Requirements Engineering

    A Critical Determinant
    of Project Success

    Language: English
    Issue Date: April 2023

    In this whitepaper, fortiss provides an overview of requirements engineering and its importance for the success of software development projects.

    Download pdf

    fortiss Whitepaper Security Engineering for ISO 21434

    Security Engineering

    for ISO 21434

    Language: English
    Issue Date: April 2021

    The whitepaper provides a detailed overview of the ISO 21434 standard in the automotive sector and offers an approach for automating the necessary processes for risk analysis and safety verification.

    Download pdf

    [Translate to English:] fortiss Whitepaper Center for Code Excellence – Herausforderungen und Chancen für Bayern

    Code Excellence

    Challenges and chances
    for Bavaria

    Language: German
    Issue Date: February 2020

    The whitepaper describes the fundamental challenges and trends in software technology for Bavarian companies and offers specific recommendations.

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    Whitepaper Praxisnahe Einführung von Model-based Systems Engineering

    Practical introduction of model-based systems engineering

    Procedure and lessons learned

    Language: German
    Issue Date: June 2020

    The whitepaper highlights the advantages of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) for complex cyber-physical systems, explains the challenges and also provides a compact introduction to MBSE.

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    fortiss whitepaper Advanced Systems Engineering

    Advanced Systems Engineering

    The systems of the future

    Language: German
    Issue Date: July 2020

    The whitepaper examines the increased demands on the development of today's and future technical systems and discusses the characteristics of Advanced Systems Engineering (ASE) and Model-based Systems Engineering (MBSE).

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    fortiss Whitepaper Safety & Security – A Model-Based Approach

    Safety & Security Engineering

    A Model-Based Approach

    Language: English
    Issue Date: September 2018

    The whitepaper explores how model-based methods can be utilized to facilitate the integration of safety and security by addressing the escalating threat of cyber-attacks targeting system vulnerabilities, which could lead to severe consequences including the remote disabling of safety mechanisms.

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