Government Perspectives on Engineering Systems

moderator: Granger Morgan, Engineering and Public Policy Faculty, Carnegie Mellon University
author: Mortimer Downey
author: Pao Chuen Lui, Temasek Defense Systems Institute, National University of Singapore
author: Joseph Bordogna, National Science Foundation
author: Mary Good, Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
published: March 7, 2013,   recorded: March 2004,   views: 2093
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Panelists share their diverse experiences, enthusiasm, and occasional frustrations involving complex, government-based engineering projects. Mortimer Downey outlines several expensive, new undertakings – from air traffic control modernization to a total revamping of the Coast Guard – in which an “ESD approach could bring a sense of the possible…how to look for solutions from the perspective that the job can be done.” Pao Chuen (PC) Lui describes Singapore’s amazing feat of land reclamation – literally growing the country by 22% since the 1960s. The nation’s tiny size challenged economic growth and national security so Singapore found unique solutions, including networking its shipping and port business and integrating intelligence command and control for defense, police and fire. Joseph Bordogna tells us, “In considering large-scale, technologically enabled engineered systems, you need to exercise the same vision. From power grids to the web, you need to understand humans and their institutions.” A recent National Science Foundation initiative involved earthquake simulations and building designs that minimize loss of life. Mary Good stresses the importance of shared, up-to-date standards. After the Oklahoma City bombing, “federal officers were on one end of the street and sheriff and locals on the other. The way they communicated was by sending runners. It was back to the Olympics,” because each group had its own telecom equipment. Different government branches duplicate each other’s work, often using competing systems. Good also encourages the “trickle down” of manufacturing design systems from large to small manufacturers, to boost profitability.

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