Architecting Engineering Systems

  • Joel Moses
Part of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology book series (POET, volume 2)


We discuss approaches to the overall design of large scale engineering systems, such as planes, cars and large software systems. Such approaches are usually called design methodologies. We discuss the top-down structured methodology, the layered or platform-based methodology, and the network-based methodology. Such design methodologies are associated with organizational structures or architectures, such as tree-structured hierarchies, layered hierarchies and generic networks. We discuss the relationship of these approaches to Aristotle’s approach to the organization of Greek city-states and his logic-based problem solving, to Plato’s organization of the Just Society, and to Darwin’s use of evolution as an approach to design. We point out how these design methodologies relate to cultural attitudes toward engineering. We also point out that different engineering fields make different fundamental assumptions about properties of engineering systems, such as flexibility. We believe that undergraduate engineering education would be greatly improved if we taught design methodologies and their relation to philosophy. Similarly, engineering education would be improved if we taught foundational concepts regarding properties of engineering systems and the differing built-in assumptions regarding such properties found in various engineering disciplines.


Design Methodology Japanese Firm Engineering Discipline Undergraduate Engineering Undergraduate Engineering Student 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joel Moses
    • 1
  1. 1.Engineering Systems Division and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science DepartmentMITCambridgeUSA

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