- Capstone Research to Grow SE Workforce Capacity
- Human Capital Development
- Project #
- 19, 19a, 43
- Project Dates
- 3/1/2010 - 10/31/2013
- 19 (closed), 19a (closed), 43 (open)
Timeframe: March 2010 to June 2012 (Task 19); July 2011 to October 2012 (Task 19A)
Project Lead: Beth McGrath
The critical challenge addressed by this research task is the development of systems engineering (SE) talent for future DoD and related industry workforce needs. A 45% growth is expected in SE jobs in the next decade and there have been numerous studies and workshops that have highlighted the shortfalls in both the number and capability of the SE workforce. The July 2006 NDIA Task Force noted among the top five systems engineering issues the lack of adequate, qualified SE human capital resources within Government and industry for allocation on major programs . Consequently, new academic and career pathways are urgently needed to build the talent base required.
SERC collaborators, as leaders in SE undergraduate and graduate education in the U.S., provide a test-bed to research innovative programs aimed at increasing student interest, learning, and persistence in SE, with a particular focus on DoD problem areas. These programs will inform the sponsor and the SE community about the methods, practices, and infrastructure necessary to build capacity within U.S. universities to address this workforce need.
Specifically, this research will conduct up to 10 pilot programs within SERC universities to understand the methods through which SE learning and career interest may be optimized among undergraduate and graduate engineering students.
The deliverables of this research will be:
- Analysis of learning outcomes by principal investigators of individual pilot programs based on progress as of January 2011 and June 2011.
- Compilation, synthesis and analysis of learning outcomes from the pilot programs for project periods through January 2011 and June 2011.
- Recommendations based on the pilot programs that will inform the development of a larger scale-up effort to build capacity for SE learning nationwide.
Pilot programs will be supported within undergraduate capstone and/or graduate SE courses, which will provide students with substantive practical experience with SE concepts and skills, and with opportunities for the development of a final product.
Capstone course work will focus on authentic DoD problems, with participation from DoD representatives in the capstone teams’ projects, including the following:
- Improve anti-tamper devices which enable the U.S. to share complex systems with potential partners without fear of compromising use or national security. Improve capabilities to render harmless U.S. systems that are misused or in the wrong hands; Low-cost, low-power computers leveraging open-source technologies and advanced security to support sustainable, secure collaboration;
- Portable, renewable power generation, storage, and distribution to support sustained operations in austere environments and reduce dependency on carbon-based energy sources; Portable, low-power water purification;
- An expeditionary assistance kit around low-cost, efficient, and sustainable prototypes such as solar cookers, small and transportable shelters, deployable information and communication technologies, water purifiers, and renewable energies. These materials would be packaged in mission-specific HA/DR kits for partner nation use;
- Develop modular, scalable, expeditionary housing systems that possess "green" electric power and water generation, waste and wastewater disposal, hygiene, and food service capabilities. Systems should be designed to blend in to natural/native surroundings and with minimal footprint;
- Continued investigation and exploration into the realm of the possible with respect to “Immersive” training technologies. Objective is to flood the training audience environment with the same STIMULI that one would experience during actual mission execution. Where possible full sensory overload is desired much the same as experienced in combat.
Specific S&T areas for development
- Virtual Human. Successful modeling of emotions, speech patterns, cultural behaviors, dialogue and gestures.
- Universal Language Model. The ability for trainees to seamlessly converse with the Virtual Human.
- Virtual Character Grab Controls. The ability for exercise controllers to assume control of virtual characters.
- Automated Programming. Cognitive learning models and the ability for exercise controllers to adjust virtual/live simulations.
- Low Cost wireless personnel sensors.
- Sensors (i.e., lightweight vests) that facilitate physical stimuli (i.e., wounds, shots) to trainees.
RT 19a - Pilot for Scaliung Up and Sustaining Effective SE Capstone Practices
Project Lead: Mark Ardis
This research task will pilot test the replication, scale-up and institutionalization of effective practices, instructional strategies and course materials/resources that result from Research Task 19, the Research on Building Education & Workforce Capacity in Systems Engineering program.
This research has two foci: (1) understanding institutions’ challenges and successes in adopting/adapting, scaling up and institutionalizing the core elements of successful systems engineering capstone projects and (2) analysis of the contexts and program characteristics which lead to the production of highly successful student/team-developed products and artifacts that respond to authentic DoD problems. Consistent with the goals of the earlier project, this research project aims to increase the pool and capabilities of systems engineering talent for future Department of Defense and the Defense Industrial Base workforce needs.
RT43 - Systems Engineering Capstone Marketplace
Project Lead: Mark Ardis
The goal of this pilot project is to determine the feasibility of and requirements for a systems engineering capstone experience marketplace environment. We hope to increase the number of systems engineering capstone projects conducted at universities each year by facilitating the cooperation and coordination of teams of students from multiple campuses on individual projects. This has the potential for increasing student engagement, as it enables student participation at schools that might not otherwise have the faculty interest or resources to undertake such projects. It also makes it easier to conduct projects of greater size and complexity where the benefits of a systems engineering approach are more visible.
The program is being implemented in three sequential phases over a 12-month period:
During Phase 1/Startup (September 1, 2012-January 31, 2013) the software for the marketplace registry was prepared, candidate projects were entered into the registry, students entered their qualifications into the registry, students volunteered for projects, project teams were created, and projects were started.
During Phase 2/Project Completion (February 1, 2013-June 30, 2013) student projects will complete their work and submit final deliverables to stakeholders, and stakeholders and faculty will perform assessments of student work.
During Phase 3/Guideline Preparation (July 1, 2013-August 31, 2013) all participating faculty will distill the lessons of the distributed team and will prepare guidelines for future instances of the marketplace at a workshop (to be held July 2013), and suggested modifications will be made to the marketplace software.