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Managing and Engineering Complex Technological Systems by Shuki Stauber, Avigdor Zonnenshain

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Chapter 1.1

The Origins, History, and Uniqueness of Systems Engineering

For many decades, each of the industries that relied heavily on engineering, such as electronics, mechanics, and chemistry, had its own unique discipline. The engineers of each discipline evolved and gained experience in their respective specializations. But, in the early 1970s, the need arose to integrate the various engineering fields and even bridge the gap between engineering, as a whole, and nonengineering systems.

This phenomenon has its source in two opposing trends: on the one hand, engineering disciplines were becoming more and more specialized; and on the other hand, the need for multidisciplinary skills was on the rise.

Clarification: technological developments led to an increase in specialization and created a need for more and more specialists in subdisciplines of engineering. Today, for instance, an electronics engineer would not be considered an expert in electronics, but rather in one of its more specific subdisciplines, such as communications or control systems. Therefore, in order to create an electronic system, one now needs to integrate these subdisciplines. On the other side of the spectrum, the technological capability of manufacturing complex products for the end user's benefit raised the importance of integration between the overarching engineering disciplines, such as mechanics, electronics, or materials engineering, as well. At the same time, the systemic complexity of developed ...

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