Distinguished Seminar Series in Systems - Dr. Paul Collopy

Event Date: January 16, 2013
Time: 11:00am
Location: Krannert Auditorium - Room 140
Dr. Paul Collopy Program Director for the Engineering Systems Design and Systems Science Programs National Science Foundation


These are interesting times for systems engineering research.  The National Science Foundation has launched or refocused three programs in systems design. The Department of Defense is pulling together a major new program in Engineered Resilient Systems at a level of funding that can completely change the field, and NASA’s Langley Research Center is considering a new research thrust in complex engineered systems.  Towering over all, DARPA’s Adaptive Vehicle Make program is committing hundreds of millions of dollars to demonstrate a radically new approach to design and development of complex systems.

The impetus for all this funding is a crying need for more effective systems engineering.  The Department of Defense loses about $200 million per day in major weapon system cost overruns, program delays, and program reductions or cancellations.  We can overcome this hemorrhage with research on two fronts.  First, we need a way to measure the quality of engineering methods, processes and tools against a rigorous, widely accepted theory of design – but first we must create such a theory. Second, we must expand existing and future design and systems engineering theories to recognize the human, social, and organizational aspects of all design, but particularly in the engineering of large systems.

Disclaimer:  The opinions planned for this talk are the speaker’s alone.  They do not necessarily reflect any positions of the National Science Foundation.


Paul Collopy is the new Program Director for the Engineering and Systems Design program and the Systems Science program at the National Science Foundation.  Before NSF, Paul was the deputy director for the Center for Systems Studies at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the executive director for the Value-Driven Design Institute in Urbana, Illinois.  Paul earned his doctorate in engineering economic systems from Stanford University.  He is an associate fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and former chair of the AIAA Value-Driven Design Program Committee and Economics Technical Committee.