The Conference on System Engineering Research (CSER) is an annual systems engineering conference founded by University of Southern California and Stevens Institute of Technology. Today, CSER affords an excellent forum for top systems engineering researchers to present their research to conference attendees from all across the globe. This year, CSER was held on March 21 and 22 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Redondo Beach. University of Southern California (USC) was the conference host while INCOSE-LA served as the conference manager. The General Co-Chairs for the conference were Professor Azad Madni, SAE Technical Director and Professor Barry Boehm, CSSE Director. The theme of CSER 2014 was “Engineered Resilient Systems: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century.”
The conference began the morning of Friday, March 21 with the opening keynote given by Dr. Wanda Austin, CEO of The Aerospace Corporation. Her talk was followed by a keynote by Dr. David Whelan, Vice President of The Boeing Company. Thereafter, six technical tracks began in separate rooms.
The first day ended with the DOD Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) panel, moderated by Ms. Kristen Baldwin, OSD SERC Director. Selected SERC members presented their research and invited questions from audience. The panel, which drew members from both academia and industry, was an unqualified success.
On Friday evening, the conference banquet sponsored by the USC Viterbi School of Engineering was held in the same hotel. Mr. David Madden of Space and Missiles Command, was the banquet speaker. He shared his experience with the audience. The banquet concluded with Professor Azad Madni, CSER General Co-Chair, recognizing CSER program committee members with CSER 2014 Service Awards. The biggest surprise came when CSER 2014 committee, INCOSE-LA and INCOSE recognized Prof. Madni’s contribution to systems engineering research and education with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was presented by Dr. David Whelan, VP of Engineering for Boeing Defense Systems, who recognized the contribution of Professor Madni by stating that his pioneering work on the DARPA Pilot’s Associate Program is what led to Siri. Dr. Whelan said, “We carry a bit of Azad in our pocket each day” referring to the intelligent assistant software in smart phones.
On Saturday, March 22, Mr. Stephen Welby, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering, was the keynote speaker. His keynote was followed by a talk by Dr. Simon Goerger, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and member of the Engineering Research and Development Center. The conference ended with its flagship executive leadership panel: Rick Baily, Vice President The Boeing Company; Robert Rasmussen, Technology Fellow Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Neil Siegel, Chief Technology Officer Northrop Grumman Information Systems; and Thomas Hannon, Director Lockheed Martin Corporation. Professor Elliot Axelband was the panel moderator.
CSER 2014 surpassed past CSERs in the number of attendees, number of countries represented and number of graduate students from around the world. The registration for the conference exceeded 250 while the registration for the banquet was more than 160. The post-conference survey showed that the quality of the papers was outstanding. The conference was deemed an unqualified success. It was total teamwork between USC Viterbi’s SAE program representatives, INCOSE-LA’s USC Student Division volunteers, and INCOSE-LA volunteers that contributed to the unprecedented success of the conference.