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Systems Engineering: Industrial Status, Needs, Barriers, Enablers and Opportunities

Speaker: Clas A. Jacobson, United Technologies Systems & Controls Engineering
Series: Special Seminars and Symposia
Location: Elgin Room (E-Quad A224)
Date/Time: Monday, May 5, 2014, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Systems engineering is evolving.  The demand for higher levels of performance, interconnectivity and differentiation by customers has increased dramatically when compared with the recent past – driven increasingly by the ability to put functionality into products through software.  Concurrently, recent advances in methodology and tools  for designing complex products are available that can empower engineering teams today with radically new product development approaches for ensuring performance, enhancing reliability and reducing the overall lifecycle cost of products.  In this market/technology climate that is driving increasing expectations the engineering processes, methods & tools that were successful in the past for simpler systems (or where cost and time were not as critical) are inadequate – indeed, may even fail catastrophically – for the design of complex products.  This is especially true for products that require the co-design of integrated hardware and software components, also termed “cyber-physical systems” which is typical of system offerings in the market today.

This talk will focus on “analytical systems engineering” which is defined by four elements: (1) requirements analysis, (2) architecture selection and analysis, (3) model based development and (4) product development design flows.

Systems engineering is the integrated product view and overall management of what will be delivered including components, communications and controls along with the coordinated product design including requirements elicitation and analysis, product development methodologies and allocation of requirements to subsystems and the validation, verification and certification.

Model based development is a core competence of methodologies and toolsets to accomplish the systems engineering task that involves translating requirements into product instantiation through a succession of combined behavioral, physics and computation/communication models which govern design decisions involving product architecture, the quantification of robustness and driving system testing and requirements verification. Model based development methodologies must be captured in engineering standard work to manage the work flow across the levels of abstraction of the design and models must form an integral part of the development process.

Controls is a key enabler in systems engineering that focuses on providing functionality that is often difficult to provide with a fixed design, moreover, controls can be used to reduce the effects of uncertainty on product functionality. Control consists of the algorithmic connections between the physical components and the conversion of the performance requirements into product functionality.

This talk will present a working definition of systems engineering that is useful across large complex systems that are found in aerospace and building sectors that are particularly needed to innovate effectively in developing products. The talk will address specific issues in cyber-physical systems and what is currently available as well as outlining needs and current research issues. Several case studies will be used to illustrate the status of systems engineering methodology & tools.