PEDLS Nancy Leveson — Lecture

Event Date: October 24, 2022
Speaker: Nancy Leveson, Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor in Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Time: 12:30-1:30 PM EDT
Location: ARMS Atrium
Priority: No
School or Program: Electrical and Computer Engineering
College Calendar: Show
A Paradigm Change for System Safety Engineering (and Security)

Nancy Leveson


Systems today are becoming increasingly complex and software-intensive. At the same time, human roles are changing along with the types of errors that the operators of these systems are making. These changes in engineering are leading to new causes of accidents. But the traditional approaches to safety engineering, created 50 to 70 years ago, are based on assumptions about system design that are no longer true. In this presentation I’ll suggest what is needed to prevent unnecessary losses, including a paradigm change in how we think about and deal with safety and security. This new approach, based on systems theory, is now being used successfully in just about every industry around the world and on the most complex systems humans have tried to create. It has been shown through both scientific evaluation and empirical use to be both more powerful and, and surprisingly, less expensive.


Nancy Leveson is Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor in Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. Prof. Leveson conducts research on all aspects of system safety including modeling and analysis, design, operations, management, and human factors and in the larger arena of system engineering. Her techniques are used in a wide variety of safety-critical industries including aerospace, transportation, chemical plants, nuclear power, healthcare, and many others. One particular common element throughout all her work is an emphasis on applying systems theory to complex systems. She has received many honors, most recently the 2020 IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies. She was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2000.

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