System Engineering

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The function of systems engineering is to guide the engineering of complex systems.

To guide is defined as “ to lead, manage, or direct, usually based on the superior experience in pursuing a given course ” and “ to show the way. ” This characterization emphasizes the process of selecting the path for others to follow from among many possible courses — a primary function of systems engineering.

A dictionary definition of engineering is “ the application of scientific principles to practical ends; as the design, construction and operation of efficient and economical structures, equipment, and systems. ” In this definition, the terms “ efficient ” and “economical ” are particular contributions of good systems engineering.

A frequently used definition of a system is “ a set of interrelated components working together toward some common objective. ” This definition implies a multiplicity of interacting parts that collectively perform a significant function.

Systems Engineering and Traditional Engineering Disciplines (Difference) Systems engineering is focused on the system as a whole; it emphasizes its total operation. It looks at the system from the outside, that is, at its interactions with other systems and the environment, as well as from the inside. It is concerned not only with the engineering design of the system but also with external factors, which can significantly constrain the design.

systems engineering are responsible for leading the formative (concept development) stage of a new system development, which culminates in the functional design of the system reflecting the needs of the user. Important design decisions at this stage cannot be based entirely on quantitative knowledge, as they are for the traditional engineering disciplines, but rather must often rely on qualitative judgments balancing a variety of incommensurate quantities and utilizing experience in a variety of disciplines,...
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