Systems engineering is the design of a complex interconnection of many elements (a system) to maximize a specific measure of system performance. It consists of two parts: modeling, in which each element of the system and its performance criteria are described; and optimization in which adjustable elements are tailored to allow peak performance. Systems engineering is applied to vast numbers of problems in industry and the military. An example of systems engineering at work is the control of the timing of thousands of city traffic lights to maximize traffic flow. The complex and intricate field of electronics and computers is perfectly suited for systems engineering analysis and in turn, advances in communications and computer technology have made more advanced systems engineering problems solvable. Thus, the two areas fed off of one another. This book is a basic introduction to the use of models and methods in the engineering design of systems. It is aimed at students as well as practicing engineers. The concept of the "systems of systems" is discussed extensively, after a critical comparison of the different definitions and a range of various practical illustrations.
It also provides key answers as to what a system of systems is and how its complexity can be mastered.