IEEE Computer Society Webinars

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Speaker: Dr. Mark Maier

Moderator: Alex Levinson - LM Fellow

Dr. Mark W. Maier is an author and practitioner of systems architecting, the art and science of creating complex systems. He is co-author, with Dr. Eberhardt Rechtin, of The Art of Systems Architecting, Second Edition, CRC Press, the mostly widely used textbook on systems architecting, as well more than 50 papers on systems engineering, architecting, and sensor analysis. Since 1998 he has been a Distinguished Engineer at The Aerospace Corporation, a non-profit corporation that operates a Federally Funded Research and Development Center with oversight responsibility for the U.S. National Security Space Program. At Aerospace he founded the systems architecting training program (and internal and external training program) and applies architecting methods to government and commercial clients, particularly in portfolios-of-systems and research and development problems. He received the BS and MS degrees from the California Institute of Technology and the Engineer and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California. While at USC, he held a Hughes Aircraft Company Doctoral Fellowship, where he was also employed as a section head. Prior to coming to The Aerospace Corporation he was an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alabama at Huntsville.


Webinar: Reconciling Strategy, Hardware, and Software Through Architecture: Lessons Old and New

Systems Architecting is a technical activity with technical products, but it is inextricably linked to business or operational strategy. In this talk we will take up the challenge of reconciling architectures at two apparently different levels: Business strategy at the high level and hardware and software are the low level. We will see that while these levels are very different in abstraction and concern they share important architectural concepts. We can also find examples that illustrate the issues from pre-WWII to the present day. The first example is old, the development of the DC-3 airplane, but demonstrates the interaction of technical architectural decision making with business strategy. In the 1930's two companies took the same technology down two different paths that were superficially similar, but dramatically different in business strategy. Both were successful in the local sense of meeting their architectural objectives, but only one was successful in revolutionizing the airline business. In the present day the move from vertically organized (or "Stovepiped") software to horizontally layered systems is, in many ways, a similar example with many more players. The technical shift, from vertical to horizontal organization, has enormous consequences in management and programmatics. The reconcilation of those consequences ultimately lies with the business strategy. Technical choices are enabling or disabling of strategic choices, and vice versa. The talk will illustrate with specific case examples.



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