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Online Course

Systems Engineering: Theory & Practice

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and NPTEL via Swayam


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Systems engineering is a discipline that utilizes an inter-disciplinary problem-solving approach across the entire technical effort irrespective of whether the systems or the systems of systems are for military, industrial, commercial or civil applications. This course will provide an overview of both theory and practice of the systems engineering discipline along with systems engineering design approach. The aim of the course is also to equip students with capability to develop system solutions that optimally fulfill customer objectives with available resources. Focus will be on creating know-how on solving open-ended problems, utilizing creativity, problem formulation, generation of need statements, requirements analysis, alternative solutions generation and examination, concurrent engineering design, enforcing various realistic aspects such as safety, reliability, manufacturability, operations, aesthetics, ethics, and sustainability.


Week 1: 

  • Systems engineering – what is, origin, and examples
  • Systems engg as a profession   
  • Power of systems engg and examples   
  • Systems engg viewpoint, perspectives, domains   
  • Systems engg fields, approaches, activities, and products


Week 2: 

  • Complex system structure-building blocks, hierarchy, interfaces
  • Complex system structure-environment, interactions, complexity   
  • System development process – life cycle,evolutionary characteristics
  • Systems engg method   
  • Systems testing throughout development


Week 3: 

  • Managing systems development, risks, work breakdown structure (WBS), systems engg management plan (SEMP)
  • Systems risk management, organizing for systems engg
  • Need analysis – originating, operations, functional, and feasibility
  • Need validation, systems ops requirement    
  • System requirements development, performance requirements

Week 4:

  • Implementing concept exploration, validating requirements
  • Concept definition – selection and validation, functional analysis and allocation
  • Systems architecture, system modeling languages, Model-Based Systems Engg (MBSE)
  • Decision making, modeling for decisions   
  • Simulation, Trade-off analysis


Week 5: 

  • Engg development stage – program risk reduction, prototype development for risk mitigation
  • Development testing, risk reduction
  • Revision of functional analysis and design
  • Overview of probability data analysis
  • Hypothesis testing


Week 6: 

  • Engineering design – implementing system building blocks, component design
  • Design validation, change management
  • Concepts of reliability, redundancy
  • Concepts of maintainability, availability, producibility
  • User interface design and GUI


Week 7: 

  • Integration, testing and evaluating total system
  • Test planning and preparation, system integration
  • Developmental and operational test and evaluation
  • Engineering for production, transition from development to production
  • Production operations - 1

Week 8:

  • Production operations - 2
  • Installation, maintenance and upgrading
  • Installation testing
  • In-service support
  • Upgrades and modernization


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