Applying Complex Systems to Systems Engineering
Third Millennium Systems LLC
Last modified: June 29, 2007
Systems engineering is at a crossroads currently. Proven practices have been well defined and are generally well-understood (for example, they are codified in a certification program), yet programs of increasing complexity continue to fail.
While the increasingly software intensive nature of current system development, thought in the 1990s to be a clue to the difficulty of system development, has been addressed somewhat, there is an even bigger body of knowledge ready to be translated into systems engineering-usable principles: that of complex systems.
Unfortunately, neither the complex systems side (generally academics and other researchers) nor the systems engineering side (a few academics but mostly practitioners) is very aware of the other nor of the need or means to incorporate research results into practice fairly rapidly.
The speaker has collected two dozen principles of complex systems that appear to have fairly easy applicability into systems engineering, and will present them. However, the goal is not to simply cite static lessons...the goal is to initiate a conversation about the importance of joint work and the means to do so. The goal is to remake systems engineering within the next 5-10 years so that routine application of principles from chaos and complexity-related sciences significantly improves our ability to create and maintain successful systems.
If this is accepted as a goal, the complex systems world should have significantly increased development funding and increasing contact with industry and other systems engineering practitioners.