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Mar15

Systems and Transplants

by zscott

Zane Scott, Vitech Vice President of Professional Services

I don’t usually write blogs from the first person point-of-view. It’s not my style. But the past two weeks brought about a conjunction of professional and personal topics that demanded a personal approach.

On Saturday, March 4, Dr. Thomas Starzl, 90, passed away in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Starzl was a pioneer in the world of organ transplantation — particularly liver transplantation. Although kidney transplants had begun in the 1950s, Dr. Starzl was the first surgeon to attempt a liver transplant. He and his team at the University of Colorado tried that first operation in 1963. Despite the failure of that attempt, Starzl persisted, and in 1967, he performed the first successful liver transplant. Starzl would go on to pioneer advances in transplant techniques, immunology, and chimerism — the ability of the human body to accept foreign tissue without immune suppression therapy.  More...

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Categories: MBSE | Misc

Dec22

Educating Engineers or Training Technicians?

by zscott

Zane Scott, Vitech Vice President of Professional Services

Those of us engaged in instruction, be it live or web-based, are often asked to provide “practical examples” of the principles and techniques we discuss. There is an intense desire to focus on application and avoid theory or concepts. The examples requested are deemed “practical” to the extent that they resemble the requester’s practice area. Rail system designers seek examples of rail systems. Missile designers want missile systems as examples. This seems practical and focused at first blush, but it disguises an underlying learning/teaching problem.   

The problem is rooted in a struggle to establish a body of knowledge and the corresponding theoretical foundations of a systems engineering discipline. The history of the practice of systems engineering makes this struggle all the more difficult. Systems engineering arose in response to the need in the military/aerospace (mil/aero) sector for dealing with increasingly more complex problems and solutions in a rigorous and disciplined way. As the problem set began to demand solutions that crossed disciplinary boundaries, the need for an organized, comprehensive approach to designing and managing these solutions increased dramatically. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the arms and space races of the Cold War era. More...

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Categories: Misc

Jun02

Of Zika and Systems Engineers

by zscott

By Zane Scott, Vitech Vice President of Professional Services

The recent attention to the Zika virus and its potential global spread illustrates once again that the truly important questions occur at the systems level. Without systems thinking the questions can “hide” from decision makers emerging only later as damaging unintended consequences of decisions made without an adequate systems understanding.  More...

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Categories: Misc

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