3rd ETH Alumni New England Chapter Anniversary
with Keynote Speaker MIT Professor Olivier de Weck

Dear ETH Alumni New England Chapter

You are all kindly invited to invite for the 3rd ETH Alumni New England Chapter Anniversary

When: Thursday October 24th, 2012  6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Where: swissnex Boston420 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138


Doors open

Welcome Address
Patrick Anquetil, Vice-President, ETH Alumni NEC

        6:40    From ETH to MIT:  Adventures in Trans-Atlantic Socio-Technical Systems  (1994-2014)
Professor Olivier de Weck - MIT

Q & A
Patrick Anquetil, Vice-President, ETH Alumni NEC

Drinks, Networking

From ETH to MIT:  Adventures in Trans-Atlantic Socio-Technical Systems  (1994-2014)

Recently MIT was ranked #1 in the 2013 QS World University Rankings and ETH Zurich was rated at 
#12. According to this particular assessment MIT is first overall, and ETH is first globally amongst 
universities not located in the US or the UK. Rather than dwell on the details of such ratings I will 
start my presentation with a comparison of the two institutions, both of which I had the pleasure of 
attending as a student. There are surprisingly many similarities but also some striking differences 
between the two schools. Both were founded to bring society into the modern age through 
technology and infrastructure development starting in the mid 19th century. Beyond some basic 
statistics there is a philosophy at both institutions of pursuing excellence in research and education 
while tackling meaningful problems in society. My particular interest is in designing complex 
engineered systems that serve society over the long haul and are composed of intertwined 
technological, social and natural elements. The trans-atlantic journey begins in 1994 with a summary 
of what are system "lifecycle properties" also know as
 "Illities" and how these are embodied in the 
Swiss F/A-18 aircraft, currently Switzerland's premier military aircraft. I will then discuss my latest 
research in deliberately designing systems for lifecycle properties such as
 reconfigurability and 
evolvability under uncertainty. Examples will include aircraft, space exploration systems as well as 
ground-based infrastructure such as desalination plants and associated distribution networks. This 
talk is based in part on the book Engineering Systems: Meeting Human Needs in a Complex 
Technological World, which was the bestseller at the MIT Press bookstore in 2012. 

Prof. de Weck's research is in Systems Science and Engineering. He focuses on how complex man-made systems such as aircraft, spacecraft, cyber-physical products, and critical infrastructures are designed, manufactured and operated and how they evolve over time.  His main emphasis is on the strategic properties of these systems that have the potential to maximize lifecycle value. His group has developed quantitative methods and tools that explicitly consider manufacturability, flexibility, robustness, and sustainability among other characteristics. Significant results include the Adaptive Weighted Sum (AWS) method for resolving tradeoffs amongst competing objectives, the Delta-Design Structure Matrix (DDSM) for technology infusion analysis, Time-Expanded Decision Networks (TDN) and the SpaceNet and HabNet simulation environments. These methods have impacted complex systems in space exploration (NASA, JPL), oil and gas exploration (BP) as well as sophisticated electro-mechanical products (e.g. Xerox, Pratt & Whitney, GM, DARPA). He has authored or co-authored three books, 250 peer-reviewed articles and won 8 best paper and best poster awards since 2004. He is a Fellow of INCOSE and an Associate Fellow of AIAA. From 2008 to 2011 he served as Associate Director of the Engineering Systems Division (ESD) at MIT. From 2010 to 2013 he served as Executive Director of the MIT Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) project. Since January 2013 he serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Systems Engineering.