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Does Civil Engineering Need System Engineering?

TitleDoes Civil Engineering Need System Engineering?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsMar BW, Palmer RN
JournalJournal of Professional Issues in Engineering
Start Page45
Date Published01/1989

System engineering has many definitions. In this paper it is defined as a total disciplined process of defining, creating, and operating large complex engineering systems. A brief history of the development and practice of system engineering is presented. Other definitions of system engineering are explored. On one extreme are system modeling and optimization activities and on the other are acquisition, requirements, and specification activities. Civil engineering, like other disciplines, has fragmented into many specialty groups. The common skills of integration, verification, and synthesis are often ignored by these specialty groups. System engineering skills are commonly focused on the definition and translation of needs and solutions at each phase and level of a system development. New computer technology permits the process of system engineering to be automated and performed in real time and at much lower costs. The question raised in this paper is whether the civil engineering profession currently practices computer assisted system engineering or whether it should embrace system engineering to improve its practice.