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Expanding horizons: Systems engineering and software development

As you may know, IBM has been involved with creating and delivering complex, embedded systems for over 50 years now, starting with the earliest days of the NASA space program. The acquisition of Rational and then Telelogic further expanded our knowledge and footprint of Systems Engineering and embedded software development over the recent past, and we look forward to advancing the state of the practice in the future.

What is “Systems Engineering”? The International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), a key organization that IBM supports, defines it this way:

“Systems Engineering integrates all the disciplines and specialty groups into a team effort forming a structured development process that proceeds from concept to production to operation. Systems Engineering considers both the business and the technical needs of all customers with the goal of providing a quality product that meets the user needs.”

So, a Systems Engineer considers the whole solution, from initial concept, through design, manufacturing, deployment and retirement. A natural fit for IBM’s talent! They coordinate work from all the other engineering disciplines contributing to a project’s success, whether it’s electrical, software, electronics, mechanical, structural, or propulsion (or just about any other discipline you can name!).

Embedded Software is a discipline that often is closely related to Systems Engineering, simply because in many cases the complex, manufactured products that SE’s are responsible for are massively software-intensive. In fact, the software inside the device may (and often does) cost more to develop and maintain than the device itself. This discipline focuses on complex interaction with hardware, other devices, high-speed processing, low-latency reactions, and small memory footprint constraints.

With that as background, let’s talk about some exciting new things we are doing at Rational and today. I lead a team at Rational that is working to define an integrated set of products, practices, services, and solutions to help you solve some of the world’s toughest problems. We have years of experience in the domain, yes, but we can’t do it alone. We need YOUR help – your input, feedback, and experimentation.

Starting today, we’d like you to join us in discussing and specifying how you want to use IBM’s products and services together, sharing ideas, and discussing our solutions.  We’ll be “seeding” some concepts and ideas, and looking forward to yours. Over time, you will see our Systems Engineering and Embedded Software Development presence on expanding as we add our thoughts, products, work and discussions to the community.  From time to time, we will point you to prototypes, templates and other tool enhancements for your analysis and feedback. We hope you will consider “getting in on the ground floor” and work with us!

Come and join the conversation in the forums!

Greg Gorman
Program Director, Systems Engineering Product Strategy & Delivery