WISE Feature Interview with Somayeh Sojoudi
How did you get started in the field of systems engineering?
I got my master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Control Theory and System Dynamics at Concordia University and this was the first time I started studying and doing research on systems engineering. After getting my master's degree, I attended the PhD program at California Institute of Technology, where I worked on theoretical aspects of control theory and optimization together with their applications in power systems, communication networks and medicine.
What do you find interesting or exciting about working in the field of systems science and systems engineering?
We are living in an era where almost every system is getting smarter. The legacy power grid is changing to smart grid to have more sustainability and resiliency, and smart transportation systems aim to enable the dream of driverless cars and automated highways. More generally, we are moving towards smart cities with many sensors, a lot of data to process, and many decisions to be made in real time. The operation of smart cities relies heavily on computational tools. Because of that, we need to have computational tools that are reliable and efficient so that they can be used for safety-critical systems, such as transportation and energy systems. With that in mind, my research has been focused on designing such algorithms and it is very exciting to see how that will help with transitioning to smart cities.
What advice do you have for those just starting out in the field of systems engineering?
Engineering is all about details, but it's important not to lose sight of the big picture. It is an exciting time to work in the field of systems engineering.