Integrated Definition Modeling (IDEF)

Skill level: Advanced


Integrated definition modeling (IDEF) is a family of modeling languages and methods for system and software engineering. In 1972 the Integrated Computer-Aided Manufacturing (ICAM) program office of the United States Air Force developed IDEF as a “neutral” way of describing the content and interactions of large-scale systems.

Currently there are 15 methods:

  • IDEF0: Function modeling
  • IDEF1: Information modeling
  • IDEF1X: Data modeling
  • IDEF2: Simulation model design
  • IDEF3: Process description capture
  • IDEF4: Object-oriented design
  • IDEF5: Ontology description capture
  • IDEF6: Design rationale capture
  • IDEF7: Information system auditing
  • IDEF8: User interface modeling
  • IDEF9: Business constraint discovery
  • IDEF10: Implementation architecture modeling
  • IDEF11: Information artifact modeling
  • IDEF12: Organizational modeling
  • IDEF13: Three scheme mapping design
  • IDEF14: Network design


  • Provides improved systems analysis
  • Standardized systems
  • Provides improved communication techniques
  • Helps in understanding a system and its relationships

How to Use

Uses vary depending upon level and purpose.

Relevant Definitions

Integrated Computer-Aided Manufacturing (ICAM): A United States Air Force program that develops tools, techniques, and processes in support of manufacturing.


An example of an IDEF(0) diagram is below. Other IDEF diagrams may be similar.



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