Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Engineering Systems Symposium slated for June 2009 - SDM Pulse, Fall 2008

By Kathryn O’Neill, managing editor, SDM Pulse

MIT will host the second Engineering Systems Symposium on campus June 15-17, 2009, in Wong Auditorium. The event is open to the public.

Although the symposium is still in the planning stages, two keynote speakers have been confirmed: Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering and former president of MIT, and Norman Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation. The symposium is being cochaired by ESD’s founding director, Daniel Roos, professor of engineering systems and civil and environmental engineering, and Christopher Magee, professor of the practice of mechanical engineering and engineering systems.

The tentative symposium schedule calls for two days of plenary sessions and one day of breakout sessions on specific research areas. The plenary sessions will include:

1) Joint presentations from university and industry representatives demonstrating how research advances have been practically applied to significant engineering systems problems.

2) A discussion on how engineering systems can address the current and future needs of industry.

3) A discussion of the field’s intellectual agenda—including engineering systems concepts and frameworks—and application to challenges in specific domains such as energy and health care.

4) A broad look at the future of engineering and the role of engineering systems in engineering research and education.

“This is very much an evolving field,” Roos said, noting that engineering systems programs are organized differently at different universities. Timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the MIT Engineering Systems Division (ESD), the symposium offers an opportunity to explore the best ways to move the field forward, he said.

The first Engineering Systems Symposium, held at MIT in 2004, was very much a “call to arms,” Roos said. “The resounding conclusion of the first symposium was that this [field] is terribly important to pursue.” The event, which was at capacity with more than 300 people attending, led to the founding of the Council of Engineering Systems Universities (CESUN).

CESUN is now a thriving organization with more than 30 members—and a sponsor of the 2009 symposium. To date, the International Council on Systems Engineering and the Institute of Industrial Engineers have also signed on as sponsors and many of their members are expected to attend. “With so many other universities now involved in engineering systems, I couldn’t be happier,” Roos said.

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