Complexity is an ever-present obstacle in almost every business. Especially in engineering, the design of highly integrated systems, the management of densely interwoven process organizations, the adaptation of products and their variants to different markets, and the general management of dependencies that drive any system’s behavior necessitate approaches that enable the smooth and efficient modeling, analysis, and synthesis of appropriate solutions to working with such complexity.

However, complex systems have many advantages — e.g., they can generate better functionalities, be made copy-proof, and allow for innovations otherwise not possible. If well managed, complex systems provide many opportunities.

DSM (Dependency and Structure Modelling, also known as the Design Structure Matrix) methods, matrix-based as well as graph based, have proven invaluable in designing complex systems, optimizing technical systems, and understanding and managing product architectures, organizations, densely networked processes, and large market structures. With its ability to manage complexity by looking into the structure of a system, it has led to many other advances and methodologies, including domain mapping matrices (DMMs) and multidomain matrices (MDMs).

The International DSM Conference provides an annual forum for discussing the modeling and management of complex systems. During the conference, researchers, practitioners, and software developers of DSM-related tools can exchange experiences, development results, trends, and new ideas for complexity management in all kinds of industries from many different perspectives.

The DSM Conferences include the following three main topical areas:

Industrial Applications (Systems Engineering and Project Management)

  • Aerospace
  • Architectural engineering and construction
  • Automotive
  • Big data and analytics
  • Energy
  • Healthcare
  • Information technology / software
  • Infrastructure
  • Manufactured and consumer goods
  • Plant Engineering
  • Others

Research Trends

  • DSM approaches and methodologies
  • Domain Mapping Matrix (DMM) approaches and methodologies
  • Multidomain Matrix (MDM) approaches and methodologies
  • Systems Engineering, System Dynamics, General System Theory, and others
  • Developments and innovations in building, visualizing, analyzing, and understanding DSMs, DMMs, and MDMs
  • Product architectures
  • Organization architectures
  • Process architectures
  • Project management
  • Solution Space Engineering

DSM software tools

  • Commercially available tools
  • Prototypes and research projects

Introduction to DSM

As an introduction to DSM we have two short videos by Tyson Browning and Steven Eppinger who explain DSM usage and benefits in short:

Please see the review of e.g. last year’s conference for more details. For more information on DSM, visit