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Chair's Distinguished Lecture: A New Approach to Engineering for Safety and Cybersecurity

Thursday, October 8, 2020
4:00-5:15 PM
Prof. Nancy Leveson
Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Aerospace and other systems are becoming increasingly complex and software-intensive. At the same time, human roles are changing along with the types of errors that the operators of these systems are making. These changes in engineering are leading to new causes of accidents. But the traditional approaches to safety engineering, created 50 to 70 years ago, are based on assumptions about system design that are no longer true. In this presentation I’ll suggest what is needed to prevent unnecessary losses, including a paradigm change in how we think about and deal with safety, i.e., basing system engineering on system theory (which is where it started a long time ago).

System theory provides the ability to overcome the deficiencies of traditional analytic reduction and to create new, more powerful approaches to the safety and security of today’s and tomorrow’s systems. Our new systems-theoretic approach to safety is being used successfully in just about every industry around the world and on the most complex systems humans have tried to create. It has been shown through both scientific evaluation and empirical use to be both more powerful and less expensive than the traditional approaches.

About the speaker...

Nancy Leveson is Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. Prof. Leveson conducts research on all aspects of system safety including modeling and analysis, design, operations, management, and and human factors and the larger arena of system engineering. Her techniques are used in a wide variety of safety-critical industries including aerospace, transportation, chemical plants, nuclear power, medical devices, and many others. One particular common element throughout all her work is an emphasis on applying systems theory to complex systems. She has received many honors, most recently the 2020 IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies. She was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2000.

Dr. Leveson is author of two books: Safeware: System Safety and Computers (1995) published by Addison-Wesley and Engineering a Safer World (2012) published by MIT Press. She consults extensively in many industries on the ways to prevent accidents and has served on numerous national and international committees and accident investigations including being an expert consultant for the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, the Presidential Commission on Deepwater Horizon, the Baker Panel on the Texas City explosion, and a Navy committee investigating one of the V-22 Osprey accidents as well as lesser-known accidents.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Link:
Event Type: Class / Instruction
Tags: Aerospace, aerospace engineering
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Aerospace Engineering