CMDOWS: a proposed new standard to store and exchange MDO systems

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This paper proposes a new format to store and exchange multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) systems. Here, the generic term MDO system refers to the set of disciplinary tools, their exchanged data and process connections that, all together, define an MDO computational setup. In the process leading to the formal specification of such a computational system, the set of tools, data and connections evolves, until a complete MDO system formulation (not executable) is reached. The proposed open-source standard, called CMDOWS (Common MDO Workflow Schema), has been developed to support this process. The key aspect of the format is its neutral XML-based data representation, making any stored MDO system exchangeable between the design team members and applications (e.g., tool repositories, visualization packages) developed to support the team in setting up the MDO system. This exchangeability is a key enabler for the creation of a versatile MDO framework. Furthermore, CMDOWS provides the starting point to translate any MDO system formulation into an execut-able workflow using a workflow platform of choice. To the authors’ knowledge, such an exchange format does currently not exist, notwithstanding the enormous potential it would have for the exploitation of large-scale MDO in industry. A case study demonstrating the use of CMDOWS is presented in this paper. It was concluded that the current version of CMDOWS already provides a robust standard to store and exchange MDO systems. The schema will be extended to meet future developments and promote its adoption as a recognized standard in the broader MDO community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-627
Number of pages21
JournalCEAS Aeronautical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • MDO
  • Standardization
  • Workflow schema
  • XML
  • MDO framework


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