Sunday, July 18, 2010

What is System Engineering

System Engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering that focus on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed. Coordination of different teams and automatic control of machinery become more difficult when dealing with large, complex and a big amount of projects.
System Engineering deals with work processes and tools to handle projects, and it overlaps with both technical and human-centric disciplines such as control engineering and project management.

System Engineering signifies both an approach and, more recently, as a discipline in engineering. The aim of education in System Engineering is to simply formalize the approach and in doing so, identify new methods and research opportunities similar to the way it occurs in other fields of engineering. As an approach, System Engineering is holistic and interdisciplinary in flavor.

Holistic View
System Engineering focus on defining 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. System Engineering process can be decomposed into:
• a System Engineering Technical Process
• a System Engineering Management Process

Managing complexity
The need for system engineering arose with the increase in complexity of systems and projects. When speaking in this 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.

One way to understand the motivation behind system engineering is to see it as a method, or practice, to identify and improve common rules that exist within a wide variety of systems. Keeping this aspect in mind, the principles of System Engineering can be applied to any system, complex or otherwise, provided system thinking is employed at all levels.

System engineering encourages the use of modeling and simulation to validate assumptions or theories on systems and the interactions with and within them.
Use of methods that allow early detection of possible failures, in Safety engineering, are integrated into the design process. At the same time, decisions made at the beginning of a project whose consequences are not clearly understood can have enormous implications later in the life cycle of a system, and it is the task of the modern system engineer to explore these issues and make critical decisions. There is no method which guarantees that decisions made today will stay be valid when a system goes into service years or decades after it is first conceived but there are techniques to support the process of system engineering.

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