Saturday, 12 March 2011


The term systems engineering can be traced back to Bell Telephone Laboratories in the 1940s. The need to identify and manipulate the properties of a system as a whole, which in complex engineering projects may greatly differ from the sum of the parts' properties, motivated the Department of Defense, NASA, and other industries to apply the discipline.

When it was no longer possible to rely on design evolution to improve upon a system and the existing tools were not sufficient to meet growing demands, new methods began to be developed that addressed the complexity directly. The evolution of systems engineering, which continues to this day, comprises the development and identification of new methods and modeling techniques. These methods aid in better comprehension of engineering systems as they grow more complex. Popular tools that are often used in the systems engineering context were developed during these times, including USL, UML, QFD, and IDEF0.

In 1990, a professional society for systems engineering, the National Council on Systems Engineering (NCOSE), was founded by representatives from a number of U.S. corporations and organizations. NCOSE was created to address the need for improvements in systems engineering practices and education. As a result of growing involvement from systems engineers outside of the U.S., the name of the organization was changed to the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) in 1995. Schools in several countries offer graduate programs in systems engineering, and continuing education options are also available for practicing engineers.

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