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Forensic Systems Engineering by William A. Stimson

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1What Is Forensic Systems Engineering?

Forensic systems engineering can be defined as the preparation of systems engineering data for trial. This snapshot raises more questions than it answers because neither “systems” nor “systems engineering” enjoy general agreement on what they mean. Forensics is well defined and refers to the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems. Conversely, systems engineering has no generally accepted definition and each discipline holds its own parochial notion of it. When I entered the systems engineering program at the University of Virginia, only one other university in the United States offered a degree in the field.

In the computer world the term refers to the design and implementation of hardware and software assemblies. In the Department of Defense, it refers to large human machine structures. Systems theory itself is substance neutral and can be applied with equal vigor to computers, machines of war, video assemblies, banks, institutions, dams, churches, governments, ports, and logistics—any dynamic activity with a determined goal. So let us begin with the meaning of a system.

1.1 Systems and Systems Engineering

The Kalman et al. (1969) definition of a system, shown in the Preface, is repeated here for facility: a dynamical process consisting of a set of admissible inputs, a set of single‐valued outputs, all possible states, and ...

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