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Systems engineering: Challenging complexity
Systems engineering: Challenging complexity

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2.3 Summary and conclusions

This topic has addressed the question ‘What is modern engineering?’ The conclusion must be drawn that, until recently, engineers were content with fairly simplistic definitions of their profession, thinking that it consisted of little other than craft skills or practical experience grafted on to a knowledge of mathematics and appropriate natural sciences. It has been methodologically naive, and definitions of the processes of engineering either lack detail (Figure 19) or have been constructed in terms of ‘design’ (Figure 20).

By contrast, ‘systems engineering’ has a plethora of methodologies – perhaps too many for its own good – and in Section 4 I will examine the development of systems engineering and its methodologies. The next section examines the second component of systems engineering by answering the question ‘What is systems?’