Macro systems: Adopting a coherent top-down framework in undergraduate engineering courses

Stephen A. Dyer, John L. Schmalzel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


The practice of systems engineering (SE) can be described as the evolution of a holistic viewpoint for complex systems that simultaneously considers the vertical and horizontal integration of elements in an optimal fashion. The rapid evolution of core computing, communication, and interface technologies means that systems architects are presented with palettes of powerful functions and rarely need to resort to development of deep-core layers. This creates a greater need for systems engineers who can, in an optimal fashion, exploit commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software in order to meet design requirements subject to constraints largely defined by time and cost. Current systems engineers have achieved their titles largely through experience. While there exist undergraduate and graduate SE programs - and those numbers are increasing - education practices haven't kept up. Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) programs - the source of the largest cadre of engineers able to deal with both hardware and software - remains characterized by the significant amounts of attention paid to details, with relatively little treatment of the SE perspective. This paper describes an approach, which we term Macro Systems, that can be adapted to a broad spectrum of core ECE courses with the result that students can be exposed to SE concepts on a continual, progressive, and appropriate basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1st Annual 2007 IEEE Systems Conference
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
Event1st Annual 2007 IEEE Systems Conference - Honolulu, HI, United States
Duration: Apr 9 2007Apr 13 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 1st Annual 2007 IEEE Systems Conference


Other1st Annual 2007 IEEE Systems Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityHonolulu, HI

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems
  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering


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