ENG 201 Course Overview

Systems Engineering

Description of the CourseNeil Siegel
Lecture, four hours per week; outside study, six hours per week. Designed for graduate students. Introduction and analysis of the major elements of the system engineering process, interspersed with examples drawn from real projects.  Includes the complete system life-cycle (requirements, design, implementation, test, deployment, operations and maintenance, disposal).  Special discussions of key leverage points, key lessons-learned from actual large projects.  Guest lectures by distinguished practitioners on their specialties.  Letter grading.

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About the Instructor
Neil Siegel, PhD: is sector vice-president & chief engineer at Northrop Grumman, responsible for more than 12,000 engineers and scientists.  Dr. Siegel has been responsible for / led the engineering on a large number of successful military and Government systems, including the Force-XXI Battle Command Brigade-and-Below / Blue-Force Tracking system, the Army’s first unmanned aerial vehicle, the Counter-Rocket-Artillery-and-Mortar system, the Air/Missile Defense Work-Station, and many others.  These systems have repeatedly been cited as model programs and important National capabilities.  He also led work for the steel industry, the movie industry, and other commercial enterprises.  He has a large number of inventions that have been implemented into fielded products and systems (including commercial products by companies like Garman and Apple), and more than 20 issued patents.

His expertise is recognized by the U.S. Government, as indicated by past membership on the Defense Science Board, the Army Science Board, and other senior government advisory panels.

His many honors include:

  • Election to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering
  • Fellow of the IEEE
  • The IEEE Simon Ramo Medal for systems engineering and systems science
  • His company’s Chairman’s Award for Innovation (three times)
  • The Army’s Order of Saint Barbara 
  • The iCMG award for system architecture
  • The Northern Virginia Technology Council CTO-of-the-year award

Programs that he has led have also won many honors, including the inaugural Crosstalk award as the best-ran software program in the entire U.S. government, the IDGA award as the “Most Innovative U.S. Government Program”, and the Federal 100 Monticello Award.

His personal science and engineering contributions have centered around how to implement large, mobile, ad-hoc radio networks over relatively low data-rate carriers, focusing on what he calls “infrastructureless” networks (e.g., no fixed infrastructure, such as cell-phone towers, repeaters, etc.) and techniques for achieving acceptable dynamics through what he calls “force-structure-aware” networks. He has been a pioneer in large-scale deployments of GPS-enabled applications (like the Blue-Force Tracking system).  He has made contributions in the field of structuring large-scale software developments so as to match the skill distribution encountered in real-world teams.

Course Outline

  • Week 1, lectures 1 and 2:
    • Motivation
    • Course overview
    • Overview of the method
  • Week 2, lectures 3 and 4:
    • Requirements definition (part I)
    • Requirements definition (part II)
  • Week 3, lectures 5 and 6:
    • Design (part I)
    • Design (part II)
    • Team homework assignment assigned
  • Week 4, lectures 7 and 8:
    • Design (part III)
    • Decision-tree homework assignment assigned
    • Implementation and integration
    • Verification and validation
    • Operation and sustainment
  • Week 5, lecture 9 and mid-term examination
    • Designing the user experience
    • Testing redux
    • Class session 10:  mid-term examination
  • Week 6, lectures 11 and 12:
    • Twelve important concepts in systems engineering
    • Agile processes  (guest lecturer: Dr. Suzette Johnson)
  • Week 7, lectures 13 and 14:
    • Deep-dive:  communications systems (guest lecturer:  Dr. John Olsen)
    • Deep-dive:  Direct TV (guest lecturer:  Dr. John Olsen)
    • Decision-tree homework assignment due before this class session starts
  • Week 8, lectures 15 and 16:
    • Deep-dive:  modeling and simulation (guest lecturer: Dr. Michael Papay)
    • Special topic – cyber security, and its implications for systems engineering
    • The team homework assignment (QFD) is due before this class session 16 starts
  • Week 9, lectures 17 and 18:
    • Being the chief architect for a system
    • An engineering career in private industry
  • Week 10, lectures 19 and final examination:
    • Course summary
    • Class session 20: Final examination

In addition to the specific homework assignments identified above, there are readings assigned for most lectures, and each will require a short written summary of your learning to be turned in as a homework assignment.
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