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Thank you, Bob, for All What You Have Done!


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Qusai: I want to express my gratitude for your involvement in this.

Bob: It has been a delightful experience promoting the discipline of system engineering. It's a relatively few field that not everyone comprehends. System engineering is-

Qusai: I apologize for interrupting, but before we delve deeper into the subject, it would be beneficial for our audience or readers to understand what system engineering actually entails. Would you mind providing a definition of system engineering?

Bob: That's precisely what I was about to do. System engineering is distinct in that it does not adhere to fixed formulas like radar engineering or computer system engineering. System engineering is a design philosophy that encompasses the entire lifecycle of a product, from its inception and purpose, to its maintenance, updates, and eventual disposal.

System engineering is an engineering philosophy that asserts the importance of designing any product, whether it be a banking process or something else, to meet the needs of users and customers throughout its entire lifespan. This includes considerations such as shipping, storing, usage, maintenance, updates, and ultimate disposal. It is a philosophy of design, applicable to any field, rather than a specific methodology for designing individual systems.

Qusai: It's fascinating. I recall a British professor referring to it as an art. It's the art of bringing all these elements together. I find it incredibly intriguing. As you mentioned, it's more of a philosophy than traditional engineering. It's interesting to note that many technologies, like the internet, initially had military applications before transitioning to civilian use after the '80s. I'm glad you initiated this discussion. How did it feel to lead an IEEE Council, especially considering it was your first leadership position?

Bob: Are you asking about my initial involvement with IEEE?

Qusai: Yes, specifically your first year of leading an IEEE Council.

Bob: I joined IEEE as a member in the early '80s and became engaged with one of their conferences called AUTOTESTCON, which is co-sponsored by the Instrumentation and Measurement Society and Aerospace Electronic System Society. I actively participated in both societies, serving as the VP of Technical Operations for the Instrumentation and Measurement Society, and eventually becoming its president. It was during my presidency that I conceived the idea of establishing the system council. Later on, I also became the president of the Aerospace Electronic Systems Society after holding various lower positions.

I served as the treasurer of the Aerospace Electronic Systems Society for around 10 or 11 years until recently. I have been actively involved in IEEE conferences and have played a role in founding several IEEE publications.

Qusai: I have come across some of them.

Bob: Currently, I have been involved in the founding process of three journals. The Systems Journal was the first one, coinciding with the establishment of the Systems Council. It now publishes over 6,000 pages annually and is flourishing. I have also founded several conferences, including the International System Engineering Conference, which just concluded its 17th year in Vancouver, British Columbia, last week. I have been actively engaged for quite some time and continue to be involved in AUTOTESTCON, the conference that initially sparked my interest back in the '80s.

Qusai: Thank you for your dedication and contributions. What would you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Bob: I apologize, but could you please repeat the question?

Qusai: What would you say is your most significant accomplishment? How long have you been leading the IEEE System Council?

Bob: I founded the council in 2005 and served as its first president. Over the years, I have held various positions within the council and was elected as president once again approximately eight years later. I have been president of the council twice and currently continue to serve as the Council Treasurer.


Written by Qusi Alqarqaz, IEEE Systems Council History Column Editor, Writer