Engineering Complex Systems and Complex Systems Engineering: Challenges and Opportunities

William Mong Distinguished Lecture by Dean Julio M. Ottino
Apr 16, 2018

Professor Julio M. Ottino, Northwestern University's Dean of Engineering, gave a lecture on April 16, 2018 (Monday) titled “Engineering Complex Systems and Complex Systems Engineering: Challenges and Opportunities”.


Many examples of complex networks that have greatly impacted our lives -- such as highways and the Internet -- derive from engineering. How can engineers, who have developed many of the most important complex systems, stay connected with their subsequent development? Complexity and engineering seem at odds -- complex systems are about adaptation, whereas engineering is about purpose. The presentation described how engineering can benefit from incorporating complex systems tools into its standard tool kit.  Professor Ottino presented the case that complex systems offer opportunities for paradigm shifts in established research areas and even the creation of new disciplines in engineering, as well as historical context on how new ideas emerge.