1st presentation: knowledge domains in Engineering systems (fall, 2001)

[course home]

Assignment: Research, prepare, and present an overview of a particular field of the systems sciences. Describe the intellectual content of the approach, and also something about its history and institutional character. Along with your presentation to the class, prepare a written discussion to hand in. Consider at least some of the following questions, and include several references to major works in the field, for further reading. The written portion should be clear, well-argued (with a thesis and supporting evidence) and properly cited. 

  1. The approach
  2. Describe the approach.
    Is the field primarily quantitative or qualitative?
    Is the approach for design, analysis, or management?
    Are there closely related variants?
    Is there a classic example of this approach?
    What analytical tools does the field employ?

  3. Background
  4. A bit of history: where did it come from and when?
    People: Who are the major intellectual figures?
    What were their backgrounds?

  5. Social and institutional outlines
  6. What is the education/background of the practitioners?
    Is the field associated with any particular industry?
    Is it associated with any particular university?
    What are the major professional societies?

  7. Applications
  8. To what kinds of projects or systems has the approach been applied?
    What is a classic or typical application?

  9. Current research
  10. Are there major research areas/research questions in the field today?
    Are there major figures today?
    Is anyone a leader in this field at MIT?

  11. Evaluation:
  12. Has the field been successful? (explain your criteria)
    Has it spawned other areas or fields?

  13. References

What are/were the major journals?
What books and papers exemplify the most recent thinking?
What are the classic books and paper?
Include one or two "must reads."