Portrait BMuenker
I am convinced that for a good business relationship it is important to know the background of the people “on the other side”, where they come from, what they are influenced by and why they are doing what they are doing.

The text below shortly summarizes my academic and professional history:

Throughout his entire professional life Burkhard Münker has worked in the overlapping field of two challenging, often separated disciplines:

  1. virtual system development based on component models and
  2. analysis of faulty systems under safety, risk and diagnostic aspects.

Already during his mechanical engineering studies at University of Siegen/Germany he got in touch with the idea of automatic computation of optimal designs under simultaneous consideration of constraints from multiple technical disciplines and developped Finite-Element-routines for fiber-composite aircraft structures.

Logo TU Berlin, by F13T35 at de.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia CommonsBeing “infected” with the idea of modular bottom-up description of systems, in the context of his PhD activities at the Technical University of Berlin in the mid 90’s he designed and built a tool for automatic modeling of dynamic systems from high-level descriptions and experimental data, which later was extended to automatic generation of state observers.

Automated Qualitative Reasoning (QR) and Object-oriented system analysis (OOA) played a major role in the design and work process of this interactive software system, considering upcoming techniques like OMT/UML, Use-Cases and Design Patterns as well as existing approaches for physical system modeling like ASCEND or OMOLA.

This publically funded work was initiated by a series of hazards in the chemical industry in the early 90’s and the observation, that effective modelbased fault observation systems like Extended Kalman Filters (EKFs) did exist, but in practice were only rarely applied – simply because the identification process for structure and parameters of a dynamic state-space model was too cumbersome and proprietary.

That was the start of many years of solving fault analysis tasks the modelbased way. 

Rodon LogoAn ideal continuation of this story was the long-year contribution to the development and application of the modelbased diagnosis and reasoning tool RODON®. Mainly used by major Aerospace and Automotive OEMs, this tool allowed to represent nominal and faulty physical behavior quantitatively in libraries of elementary component models and to facilitate fault dependency conclusions in complex systems.

In the vendor’s team in Southern Germany Burkhard was responsible for customer’s modeling and analysis projects, for training, coaching and consultancy, usually all focused on high-integrity embedded systems.

Modelica-Logo, (c) by Modelica AssociationIt was just precisely at that time around 2000, when he got in contact with the newly released physical system modeling language Modelica®, that merged concepts he was already familiar with and enabled convenient object-oriented – and acausal – modeling of complex physical systems.

So with the development team doing a redesign of RODON® at that time anyway, the tool’s modeling language was adapted to this new open-source standard and enhanced to cope also with over-determined, under-determined or even intervall-arithmetic problems to solve the mainly adressed engineering tasks from diagnostics, dimensioning or tolerance handling. The Modelica®-typical way of hierarchical and graphical system decomposition, clear definition of interfaces and conservation of modeling end engineering effort by reusable libraries turned out to provide a much better system understanding and higher engineering efficiency. But that was not all …

Cartoon showing hierarchy of systems; (c), jokatoons, 14348252 (adapted)In a certain way this virtual engineering method also affected the mindset of the people working with it.

Independent of any tool, it raised a culture of integrative, multi-disciplinary and collaborative thinking, always being aware of the entire system development process, with knowledge contributed from different engineering domains and actors, clearly traceable, versioned, shared and baselined. And with a strong focus on fault models, also functional safety and risk analyses were part of this simultaenous engineering idea.

Swedish flag with blue sky behind, by Tage Olsin, Hofres (Original Image) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsBurkhard spent several years with the consultancy team in Sweden, supporting many high-technology analysis projects for the international customers, mediating between end users and SW dev team and streamlining the modeling platform.

The inspiring “modelbased”-eco-system – with academic promoters like Linköping university and major Aerospace-industry like SAAB nearby – resulted in a number of very innovative Virtual-Engineering-projects – and allowing the team to become the official winner of the 1st Diagnostic Competition organized by NASA. A number of papers and reports about these activities are available.

Logo icomodAfter his return to Germany end of 2009 he started to work as an independent freelance service provider within a network of partners, taking benefit from the long background in fault- and failure-analyses and the synergies of processes in various industrial domains.

Being engaged also in “classical” safety engineering and facing the often huge problems in the verification processes – with gaps, conflicts and version mismatch – and companies spending huge amount of effort and money into inefficient processes, again it became obvious for him that “the days of MS-Office-Engineering” are over.

Another engagement area became Requirements Engineering – allowing Burkhard to apply the 2 decades of experience in all the disciplines that come as a “by-product” of OOA and modelbased analysis, like requirement-driven design, system and functional decomposition, clean boundary and interface definition, traceability and platform concepts on multiple levels. The idea of having an “executable specification” is always the vision to be followed.

Logo Uni Siegen, (c) Uni Siegen, GermanyThe need to bring this knowledge also to the next generation of engineers initiated Burkhards two guest lectures on “modeling & simulation” at that university where the journey began, in Siegen. Topics are physical system modeling according to the idea of Modelica® and modelbased support of fault analyses in the context of safety and diagnostics in the design process. The audience are mainly international students of Mechatronics, but also mechanical, electrical and industrial engineers or mathematicians.

Logo Critical SoftwareHaving worked in very innovative atmospheres in former assignments, continuously looking for opportunities to increase engineering efficiency in system development, Burkhard also tries to propagate the idea of modelbased, collaborative engineering, to widen the knowledge and practical experience of up-to-date SE tool platforms and to adapt proven solutions from modeling and analysis to new application fields. Today, Burkhards company icomod is network partner for advanced services and sophisticated tools for development especially of safetycritical high-integrity systems.

Feel free to get a better impression on typical projects and collaboration possibilities on the next pages.

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