Papyrus, model-based system engineering platform

Papyrus is a model-based system engineering platform that facilitates the design of complex hardware and/or software systems. It uses standard modelling languages UML and SysML and is part of the Eclipse open-source development environment.


Making complex systems engineering more efficient

Papyrus is a platform designed to help make system engineering projects more efficient. Starting with a natural language description of a hardware and/or software system, Papyrus can represent the system’s requirements or specifications in the form of a model’s consistent set of views. Such a model, representing the system’s architecture and behavior, has been widely tried and tested to manage systems conmplexity. Papyrus is ideal for collaboration, allowing different teams involved in the design process to work on a single, shared model.

It generates models compatible with standard languages UML (Unified Modelling Language) and SysML (Systems Modelling Language), which makes it interoperable with other tools being part of an engineering chain. Papyrus also has features that make it easy to adapt to different domains or specific types of systems—software, electronic architectures, robots, manufacturing processes, logistics flows—and projects.

Several Papyrus extensions enable the analysis of the target system before it is built and the automatic production of documentation and software code:

  • Model simulation and animation
  • Safety analysis
  • Cybersecurity analysis
  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance
  • Document generation
  • C, C++ and Java code generation.

Papyrus is part of the Eclipse open-source development environment.

Compatible with UML and SysML and highly configurable

Papyrus offers a number of major advantages:

  • It is compatible with the two main standard modelling languages, UML (Unified Modelling Language) and SysML (Systems Modelling Language).
  • Papyrus Toolsmith functions help engineers develop domain-specific modelling languages, for a highly configurable tool.
  • Specialist tools for software engineering, hardware architecture development, robotics, logistics, and manufacturing.
  • New features can easily be added, and resulting models easily used.

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Modelling and decision support

System modeling: Papyrus can model all or part of a system (requirements, functional architecture, software architecture, etc.) in standard languages UML and SysML, or in any specific modelling language. The platform can be configured for a specific domain, and specific methods can be implemented to meet the user’s needs. Diagrams, text, tables, and other editing tools are used to create a description of the model from multiple viewpoints, an approach typical of model-based approaches.

Decision support: Papyrus simulation, constraint verification, and other services can be used to generate qualitative and quantitative indicators from a system model to inform the decision to pursue a particular system build or update or not. Models are usually produced directly by Papyrus, but they can also be imported or generated from existing data.


Modelling of rail transportation signaling systems

CEA-List and partner Systerel developed a Papyrus module for the functional modelling of signaling systems for the rail industry. The development work was done for France’s national rail infrastructure operator SNCF Réseau as part of the ARGOS signaling system digitization project.

The rail signaling modelling tool, called AMS, has all of the features needed to model and instantiate a signal box. SNCF Réseau can use the module to:

  • Formalize signaling principles and their parameters.
  • Import parameters provided by a third party.
  • Automatically instantiate a signal box according to signaling principles and parameters provided by a third party.

It is available under an open-source license and will be completed in March 2023.

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Use case

Manufacturing and logistics

Papyrus was specialized for the modelling, simulation and optimization of manufacturing and logistics processes. It was initially specialized in partnership with ALSOLENTECH in 2017 to respond to the company’s need for solar farm deployment modeling and simulation methods capable of factoring in unpredictability. Since then, the software has been used for instance to detect conflicts between assembly line activities (FactoryLab GECO project; Stellantis use case, see the news); to model and automate the deployment of digital interfaces between components and applications inside factories (CanvAAS EITManufacturing project); and to dimension a logistics service (Digilogs project with the company Log’s, see use case).

Use case


As cars become more connected and autonomous, the amount of technology inside them (from sensors to computers) is growing exponentially, creating some unique integration challenges. During the FACE project, CEA-List, in partnership with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, developed a specialization of Papyrus to automatically verify system runtime configuration and compliance after new functions are added. The results are leveraged in Alkalee startup, which also targets other companies in the transportation, defense, and autonomous systems industries.

A Step Further

Functional digital twin

These Papyrus use-cases are part of the functional digital twin, which helps decision-making when facing complex business processes. Based on digital representations and appropriate analysis means, a functional digital twin is made to virtually reproducing a system’s organisational dynamics. The aim is a safe—since digital—evaluation of possible evolutions of the system; the raise of an alarm in the eventuality of a risk; an help to dimension required adaptations.

Read more on Papyrus

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Use Cases


Digital twins are expanding their reach beyond engineering and manufacturing, making inroads into warehouses.
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Research programs

Smart robotics

Creating smart interactive robots to serve humans.
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Success Story


CIL4Sys Engineering, a systems engineering services company that works with major French companies, joined forces with CEA-List on a software engineering venture.
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