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Systems Engineering of Cyber-Physical Systems: An Integrated Education Program

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Developing Systems Engineering Curriculum and Programs

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

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Paper Authors


Jon Patrick Wade Stevens Institute of Technology (School of Systems & Enterprises)

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Jon Wade, Ph.D., is a professor of practice at the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California at San Diego where he is the director of convergent systems engineering designing transdisciplinary education and research programs oriented around the fundamental principles of contemporary closed-loop systems engineering design. Previously, Dr. Wade was a research professor in the School of Systems and Enterprises at the Stevens Institute of Technology where he also served as the chief technology officer of the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) UARC. His industrial experience includes serving as executive vice president of Engineering at International Game Technology (IGT), senior director of Enterprise Server Development at Sun Microsystems and director of Advanced System Development at Thinking Machines Corporation. His research interests include complex systems, future directions in systems engineering research and the use of technology in systems engineering and STEM education. Dr. Wade received his S.B., S.M., E.E. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Roberta S Cohen Stevens Institute of Technology

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A Teaching Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology since 2009, Professor Cohen spent 26 years in the Telecommunications industry as a technical and managerial contributor to numerous programs at Bell Labs and Telcordia Technologies. She helped create and is a Fellow of the Telemanagement Forum (, an international consortium of over 900 organizations engaged in digital transformation.

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Nicholas S Bowen Stevens Institute of Technology

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Dr. Nicholas Bowen is an Industry Professor in the School of Systems and Enterprises. His primary focus is developing new graduate programs that combine Systems Engineering & Software Engineering with Cyber-Physical Systems.

He recently retired from IBM after a 31-year career. He held a diverse set of leadership positions across product development (both hardware and software), supply chain and manufacturing, sales operations, research, corporate strategy, leading large teams, and talent development. Nick has led and contributed to many critical projects including saving the mainframe business, taking AIX/Power to the #1 UNIX position, establishing Linux servers in the enterprise market, and was on the team that built the first Bladed architecture for the general purpose x86 market.

Nick received a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an M.S. in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University, and a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Vermont.

Nick has been on the advisory boards of many engineering schools including Florida International University, North Carolina State University, University of Puerto Rico (Mayaguez) and the URI Research Foundation. He was a founding member of the IEEE Computer Society Industrial Advisory Board.

Nick is an avid sailor having logged over 5,000 miles in the open ocean and is often found competing in sailboat races.

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Eirik Hole Stevens Institute of Technology (School of Systems and Enterprises)

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Eirik Hole holdd the position of Profesor of Design in systems engineering and engineering management in the School of Systems & Enterprise at Stevens Institute of Technology. Prior to this, he held systems engineering positions in a number of companies, primarily in the automotive and aerospace fields, in Norway and Germany. He obtained a master's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, in 1995.

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Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are increasingly relied upon to provide functionality and value to products, systems, and infrastructure in sectors including transportation (aviation, automotive, rail, and marine), health care, manufacturing, and electrical power generation and distribution. In this paper, we describe the critical importance of systems engineering skills for the engineers of cyber-physical systems. We describe the state of embedded/CPS development projects and the resulting educational challenge and opportunities. We then describe the process, principles, concept, syllabus and pedagogy of a Systems Engineering of Cyber-Physical Systems (SE of CPS) program that we have developed to address these needs.

Our objective is to develop a Systems Engineering of Cyber-Physical Systems program targeting practicing embedded and CPS engineers, to endow them with systems engineering capabilities. This program is projected to include a Master’s Degree, a four-course Graduate Certificate, and a four-hour workshop, all sharing a common set of materials, with the Master’s Degree having specified areas of concentration such as security, autonomy, and high-assurance.

Our program principles are: • Stress the ability to think and do, rather than just knowing • Curriculum is experientially-based, simulating an actual development program experience using contemporary methods, processes and tools (MPTs) • The entire lifecycle is covered including the often neglected areas of: o concept generation, o validation and verification, o system deployment and sustainment • Focus is on the entire process with an emphasis on V&V and mission robustness, not just architecture and design • Practices that provide efficiency and effectiveness in this domain are valued over traditional approaches, e.g. continuous agile vs. phase-based scheduled processes • Targeted towards the future using model and computational based approaches

This is an experience based program that intends to mimic an actual professional project environment, using an integrated set of tools through the entire sequence. A single project runs through the entire sequence, in this case a telepresence robot. There are also a number of threads that weave through all four courses. These threads include: 1) financial analysis, 2) system requirements based on market needs, 3) MBSE SysML architectural models and 4) proof of operation involving fault/hazard/safety analysis. These threads are introduced early in the program and serve as an anchor while being modified throughout the courses.

There are four courses that form the core of the program, corresponding to the systems framework, with a short program overview as the prelude to the first course. These courses are: • Conception of CPS: Deciding What to Build and Why • Design of CPS: Ensuring Systems Work and Are Robust • Implementation of CPS: Bringing Solutions to Life • Sustainment of CPS: Managing Evolution

The paper concludes with a description of the results obtained from the first pilot of the program and our future directions.

Wade, J. P., & Cohen, R. S., & Bowen, N. S., & Hole, E. (2016, June), Systems Engineering of Cyber-Physical Systems: An Integrated Education Program Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26006

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