Logo: University of Southern California

USC Ph.D. Student Wins One of IEEE's Highest Honors

December 17, 2010 —

Neil G. Siegel, a USC doctoral candidate in the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. who is also a vice president and chief engineer for the Northrop Grumman Corporation's Information Systems sector, has been chosen to receive the 2011 IEEE Simon Ramo Medal. He has also been named an IEEE Fellow, the organization's highest grade of membership.

Neil Siegel
"I have been very impressed with him since I worked at TRW," said Barry Boehm, who is the TRW Professor of Software Engineering and Siegel's principal faculty advisor. "Neil is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and it isn't too often that you have a grad student who's a member of the national academy."

Coincidentally, Boehm received the Ramo Medal last year and in 2008 the honor went to USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

The medal honors exceptional achievement in systems engineering and systems science. It is named to honor the distinguished engineering contributions of Simon Ramo. Ramo was one of the founders of TRW (Thompson Ramo Wooldrige), which was acquired by Northrop Grumman in 2002, and his wife, Virginia Ramo, who passed away in 2009, was a longtime member of the USC Board of Trustees.

Siegel was honored for his pioneering engineering work "that led to the successful development of the digital battlefield, a life-saving and integral part of U.S. Army operations," according to IEEE. Battlefield digitization achieves force multiplication through improved situational awareness, improved operational tempo and decreased mission timelines.

The Northrop Grumman digital battlefield, FBCB2/BFT program is the Army's principal combat battle-command system, and has also been adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps. The system is deployed on tens of thousands of vehicles worldwide, including in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. It is credited with significantly increasing U.S. Army combat effectiveness, and for saving the lives of hundreds of U.S. soldiers, U.S. Marines and U.K. soldiers through its use.

"He's done an amazing job with army battlefield digitization," said Boehm.

'Fellow' is IEEE's highest grade of membership. The title is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement.

While best known for his work as program manager for the Army, Siegel also has made important contributions to a number of highly successful military systems, including the Forward-Area Air Defense System, the Army's first unmanned aerial vehicle, along with inventing important techniques for the development of large-scale, real-time software systems. He has also led work for the steel industry, the movie industry and other commercial enterprises.

Siegel earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics at USC. He became a vice president at Northrop Grumman in 1998, leading its Tactical Systems Division and later became the vice president and chief technology officer of the company's former Mission Systems sector.

Siegel's 20-plus patents and inventions span many domains, including real-time manufacturing, medical systems, communications protocols and computing systems. He has been a member of various government panels such as the Defense Science Board, the Army Science Board and Defense Advanced Research Project Agency review panels.

Among many other honors, he has won Northrop Grumman's Chairman's Award for Innovation three times, is a member of the Army's Order of Saint Barbara and was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 2005.

IEEE, the world's largest technical professional association, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. More information is available at http://www.ieee.org.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.