MIT World Series: Second International Engineering Systems Symposium
The term “engineering systems” can have two key meanings:
1. A class of systems characterized by a high degree of technical complexity, social intricacy, and elaborate processes, aimed at fulfilling important functions in society.
2. An emerging field of scholarship that seeks solutions to important, multi-faceted, socio-technical problems.
Engineering systems research tackles large-scale challenges, addressing issues such as rebuilding critical infrastructures, working toward energy security, making health care affordable and available, managing global supply chains, and containing communicable diseases. Recognizing that such challenges do not have purely technical solutions, researchers in the field of engineering systems apply approaches from the disciplines of engineering, management, and social sciences.
In the five years since our first symposium, at which we discussed the “emerging field” of engineering systems, there have been many achievements in academics and in industry—as well as new global challenges. We currently face pressing questions of how to handle a faltering economy, how to contain potential viral outbreaks, how to improve insufficient public transportation systems, and how to respond to the urgent need for sustainable energy solutions.