Systems engineering

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Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering that focuses on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed over the life cycle of the project. Issues such as logistics, the coordination of different teams, and automatic control of machinery become more difficult when dealing with large, complex projects. Systems engineering deals with work-processes and tools to handle such projects, and it overlaps with both technical and human-centered disciplines such as control engineering, industrial engineering, organizational studies, and project management.



The term systems engineering can be traced back to Bell Telephone Laboratories in the 1940s.[1] The need to identify and manipulate the properties of a system as a whole, which in complex engineering projects may greatly differ from the sum of the parts' properties, motivated the Department of Defense, NASA, and other industries to apply the discipline.[2]

When it was no longer possible to rely on design evolution to improve upon a system and the existing tools were not sufficient to meet growing demands, new methods began to be developed that addressed the complexity directly.[3] The evolution of systems engineering, which continues to this day, comprises the development and identification of new methods and modeling techniques. These methods aid in better comprehension of engineering systems as they grow more complex. Popular tools that are often used in the systems engineering context were developed during these times, including USL, UML, QFD, and IDEF0.

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