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Software and System Engineering Education: Commonalities and Differences

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Software Engineering Outreach: Industry, K-12

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1074.1 - 23.1074.10



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Paper Authors


Massood Towhidnejad Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ., Daytona Beach

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Massood Towhidnejad is the director of NExtGeneration Applied Research Laboratory (NEAR), and a tenure full professor of software engineering in the department of Electrical, Computer, Software and System Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His research and teaching interests include autonomous systems, and software and systems engineering with emphasis on software quality assurance and testing.

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Thomas B Hilburn Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ., Daytona Beach

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Dr. Thomas B. Hilburn is a Professor Emeritus of Software Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and was a Visiting Scientist at the Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie-Mellon from 1997 – 2009. He has worked on software engineering development, research, and education projects with the FAA, General Electric, Lockheed-Martin, the Harris Corp, the MITRE Corporation, DOD, FIPSE, the SEI, the NSF, the ACM and the IEEE Computer Society. His interests include software processes, object-oriented analysis and design, formal specification techniques, and curriculum development, and he has published over 70 papers in these areas. He is an IEEE Certified Software Developer, an IEEE Software Engineering Certified Instructor, and has chaired committees on the Professional Activities Board and the Educational Activities Board of the IEEE Computer Society.

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Richard E Fairley Software and Systems Engineering Associates (S2EA)

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Richard E. (Dick) Fairley, Ph.D., CSDP is principal associate of Software and Systems Engineering Associates (S2EA) and an adjunct professor in the graduate software engineering program at Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs. He is chair of the IEEE Computer Society’s Software and Systems Engineering Committee and chair of the Computer Society’s Special Technical Committee on Systems Engineering. In addition, he is a member of the BKCASE governing board and is the Computer Society delegate to INCOSE. He is also chair of a joint Computer Society – Project Management Institute committee that is developing a software project extension to the PMI Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge and is the Computer Society delegate to PMI. Dr. Fairley In his career of 30+ years, Dr. Fairley has been a tenured professor, department chair, academic dean, and trainer and consultant. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in computer science and applied math. Dr. Fairley is a member of IEEE, the IEEE Computer Society, INCOSE, and PMI.

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Software and System Engineering Education: Commonalities and DifferencesWith the ever increasing complexity of engineered systems, and the increasing role of softwarein those systems, there is a need for educating and training qualified systems engineers to meetfuture demand. As the role of software increases in the overall operation and success of systemsit becomes necessary for the system engineers to understand and appreciate the softwareengineering methods and practices. The same is true for software engineers, where they need tounderstand the overall complexity of the system they deal with, and understand the systemsengineering methods and practices. Over the past five years, educators and professional softwareand systems engineers from around the world have been working on the development of twograduate reference curriculum called, Graduate Software Engineering Reference curriculum(GSWE 2009TM), and Graduate Reference Curriculum for Systems Engineering (GRCSETM),which is scheduled to be released by December 2012. These works have been supported bymany international organizations such as the IEEE Computer Society, and the IEEE SystemsCouncil, INCOSE, and ACM.This paper provides an overview of both GSWE and GRCSE document, and how it mightinfluence the quality and effectiveness of the development future Software Intensive Systems(SIS). In addition it will present some of the commonalities and differences between softwareengineering and system engineering graduate education. Finally, a discussion of challengesinvolved in graduating engineers, qualified for work on software intensive systems, is included.

Towhidnejad, M., & Hilburn, T. B., & Fairley, R. E. (2013, June), Software and System Engineering Education: Commonalities and Differences Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22459

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