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Systems Analysis: Its Proper Utilization Within Systems Engineering Education and Practice

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Systems Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1452.1 - 26.1452.16



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Paper Authors


Wolter J. Fabrycky PE Virginia Tech and AAII Orcid 16x16

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Wolter J. Fabrycky is Lawrence Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech and Chairman, Academic Applications International, Inc. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Arkansas (1960) and Virginia (1965). He received a Ph.D. in Engineering, Oklahoma State University (1962); M.S. in Industrial Engineering, University of Arkansas (1958); B.S. in Industrial Engineering, Wichita State University (1957). He taught at Arkansas (1957-60) and Oklahoma State (1962-65) and then joined Virginia Tech in 1965. Served as Founding Chairman of Systems Engineering, Associate Dean of Engineering, and then as University Dean of Research over a period of 12 years. He received the Lohmann Medal from Oklahoma State for Outstanding Contributions to ISE Education and Research (1992) and the Armitage Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Logistics Engineering Literature (2004); the Holtzman Distinguished Educator Award from the Institute of Industrial Engineers (1990) and the Pioneer Award from the International Council on Systems Engineering (2000). He was Founder (2005) and President of the Omega Alpha Association: the Systems Engineering Honor Society and President of Alpha Pi Mu: the Industrial Engineering Honor Society (2010-12). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1980), the American Society for Engineering Education (2007), the Institute of Industrial Engineers (1978), and the International Council on Systems Engineering (1999). He has served or is serving on the Boards of ABET, APM, ASEE, IIE, INCOSE, and OAA. He is co-author of six Prentice Hall textbooks and Editor of the Pearson Prentice Hall International Series in Industrial and Systems Engineering.

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Systems Analysis: Its Proper Utilization Within Systems EngineeringEach domain of engineering has its own customized analysis methodology. But in theengineering of systems via Systems Engineering (SE), Systems Analysis (SA) should be utilizedto focus on “the end before the beginning” and to concentrate on what the system is intended todo before determining what the system is, with form following function.An integration of process (synthesis) and evaluation (analysis) is presented that invokes iteratingsynthesis, analysis, and evaluation during system design. Instead of offering systems or systemelements per se, SA properly utilized within SE should facilitate the discovery of emergentsystem properties that provide desired functionality, capability, or an improved solution. InASEE 2015 theme terms “Making Value for Society”.This paper will describe and demonstrate the importance of Design Dependent Parameters(DDP’s - operational outcomes beyond functionality inherent in the design that matter tostakeholders). DDP’s are controllable along with design variables during the process of bringingproducts, structures, and services (human-made entities) into being. They are partitioned fromDesign Independent Parameters (DIP’s - the externalities not controllable during design).Two related areas of Systems Analysis, Engineering Economics (EE) and Operations Research(OR), are referenced as prime examples. The EE/OR analysis connection is enabled by a DesignEvaluation Function (DEF) derived for the system life-cycle. This function is central toinstancing and predicting design dependent parameter values that emanate from design iteration.By feeding mutually exclusive system design alternatives (first made equivalent) to a DesignEvaluation Display (DED), tradeoffs among system designs are made visible. Analysis thusbecomes the “compass” to guide design convergence to meet system requirements.This innovative DDP paradigm originated and was promulgated based on the congruence ofmonetary time value and the time line known as the system life cycle. It is the money time value(MTV) principle from EE and optimization (OPT) inherent in OR that jointly produces anadvanced version of ‘equivalence’. Equivalence takes on an expanded meaning because itestablishes a fair basis for comparing mutually exclusive system design alternatives.Although sometimes incorrectly called SE, Systems Analysis (SA) is shown to be necessary butnot sufficient for SE. The system design (or synthesis) process leads and also sets the pace.Stumbling through the system design space with an evaluation ‘compass’ helps converge thesystem design in the face of multiple criteria. The SE process, with SA properly embedded, hasimplications for teaching and research, with special opportunities for guiding engineeringcapstone design projects.The presentation will end with a computer paced demonstration of REPS (Repairable EquipmentPopulation System) deployed to meet a demand. Participants will be encouraged to access andexercise REPS from at their convenience, and to contact the author if desired.

Fabrycky, W. J. (2015, June), Systems Analysis: Its Proper Utilization Within Systems Engineering Education and Practice Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24789

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