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Introduction To Social Systems Engineering

Social Systems Engineering: The Design of Complexity brings together a wide variety of application approaches to social systems from an engineering viewpoint. The book defines a social system as any complex system formed by human beings. Focus is given to the importance of systems intervention design for specific and singular settings, the possibilities of engineering thinking and methods, the use of computational models in particular contexts, and the development of portfolios of solutions. Furthermore, this book considers both technical, human and social perspectives, which are crucial to solving complex problems.

Introduction to Social Systems Engineering

Social Systems Engineering: The Design of Complexity provides modelling examples to explore the design aspect of social systems. Various applications are explored in a variety of areas, such as urban systems, health care systems, socio-economic systems, and environmental systems. It covers important topics such as organizational design, modelling and intervention in socio-economic systems, participatory and/or community-based modelling, application of systems engineering tools to social problems, applications of computational behavioral modeling, computational modelling and management of complexity, and more.

César García-Díaz, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. César's expertise is in the field of agent-based social simulation. Camilo Olaya, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. Camilo is a researcher in model-based engineering of private and public systems with more than 15 years of experience in this field. Permissions Request permission to reuse content from this site

This systems-centric program keeps engineers and scientists engaged in and on the leading edge of all aspects of analysis, design, integration, production, and operation of modern systems. Learn from instructors who are leading practitioners in the field of systems engineering who incorporate problem-solving activities and case studies into discussion topics.

Gain in-depth knowledge and technical skills in the field of systems engineering as you prepare for a career within both industry and government. Choose from a host of systems engineering courses designed for our modern world, including systems software engineering, project management, system of systems, modeling and simulation and more. Take Management of Systems Projects, Enterprise Systems Engineering, Social and Organizational Factors in Human Systems Engineering, or whatever courses help you achieve your goals.

Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering and engineering management that focuses on how to design, integrate, and manage complex systems over their life cycles. At its core, systems engineering utilizes systems thinking principles to organize this body of knowledge. The individual outcome of such efforts, an engineered system, can be defined as a combination of components that work in synergy to collectively perform a useful function.

Issues such as requirements engineering, reliability, logistics, coordination of different teams, testing and evaluation, maintainability and many other disciplines necessary for successful system design, development, implementation, and ultimate decommission become more difficult when dealing with large or complex projects. Systems engineering deals with work-processes, optimization methods, and risk management tools in such projects. It overlaps technical and human-centered disciplines such as industrial engineering, production systems engineering, process systems engineering, mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, production engineering, control engineering, software engineering, electrical engineering, cybernetics, aerospace engineering, organizational studies, civil engineering and project management. Systems engineering ensures that all likely aspects of a project or system are considered and integrated into a whole.

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 various industries, especially those developing systems for the U.S. military, to apply the discipline.[2][3]

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.[4] The continuing evolution of systems engineering comprises the development and identification of new methods and modeling techniques. These methods aid in a better comprehension of the design and developmental control 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 IDEF.

In 1990, a professional society for systems engineering, the National Council on Systems Engineering (NCOSE), was founded by representatives from a number of U.S. corporations and organizations. NCOSE was created to address the need for improvements in systems engineering practices and education. As a result of growing involvement from systems engineers outside of the U.S., the name of the organization was changed to the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) in 1995.[5] Schools in several countries offer graduate programs in systems engineering, and continuing education options are also available for practicing engineers.[6]

Systems engineering signifies only an approach and, more recently, a discipline in engineering. The aim of education in systems engineering is to formalize various approaches simply and in doing so, identify new methods and research opportunities similar to that which occurs in other fields of engineering. As an approach, systems engineering is holistic and interdisciplinary in flavour.

The traditional scope of engineering embraces the conception, design, development, production and operation of physical systems. Systems engineering, as originally conceived, falls within this scope. "Systems engineering", in this sense of the term, refers to the building of engineering concepts.

The use of the term "systems engineer" has evolved over time to embrace a wider, more holistic concept of "systems" and of engineering processes. This evolution of the definition has been a subject of ongoing controversy,[13] and the term continues to apply to both the narrower and broader scope.

Systems engineering focuses on analyzing and eliciting customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle, documenting requirements, then proceeding with design synthesis and system validation while considering the complete problem, the system lifecycle. This includes fully understanding all of the stakeholders involved. Oliver et al. claim that the systems engineering process can be decomposed into:

System development often requires contribution from diverse technical disciplines.[18] By providing a systems (holistic) view of the development effort, systems engineering helps mold all the technical contributors into a unified team effort, forming a structured development process that proceeds from concept to production to operation and, in some cases, to termination and disposal. In an acquisition, the holistic integrative discipline combines contributions and balances tradeoffs among cost, schedule, and performance while maintaining an acceptable level of risk covering the entire life cycle of the item.[19]

This perspective is often replicated in educational programs, in that systems engineering courses are taught by faculty from other engineering departments, which helps create an interdisciplinary environment.[20][21]

The need for systems engineering arose with the increase in complexity of systems and projects, in turn exponentially increasing the possibility of component friction, and therefore the unreliability of the design. When speaking in this context, complexity incorporates not only engineering systems, but also the logical human organization of data. At the same time, a system can become more complex due to an increase in size as well as with an increase in the amount of data, variables, or the number of fields that are involved in the design. The International Space Station is an example of such a system.

The development of smarter control algorithms, microprocessor design, and analysis of environmental systems also come within the purview of systems engineering. Systems engineering encourages the use of tools and methods to better comprehend and manage complexity in systems. Some examples of these tools can be seen here:[22]

Taking an interdisciplinary approach to engineering systems is inherently complex since the behavior of and interaction among system components is not always immediately well defined or understood. Defining and characterizing such systems and subsystems and the interactions among them is one of the goals of systems engineering. In doing so, the gap that exists between informal requirements from users, operators, marketing organizations, and technical specifications is successfully bridged.

INCOSE, in collaboration with the Systems Engineering Research Center at Stevens Institute of Technology maintains a regularly updated directory of worldwide academic programs at suitably accredited institutions.[6] As of 2017, it lists over 140 universities in North America offering more than 400 undergraduate and graduate programs in systems engineering. Widespread institutional acknowledgment of the field as a distinct subdiscipline is quite recent; the 2009 edition of the same publication reported the number of such schools and programs at only 80 and 165, respectively. 041b061a72


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