IBM and Univ Central Florida Partner for System Engineering Education, a place to look for Smarter Planet Engineers

IBM has a great marketing campaign with Smarter Planet, and I blogged about how this is great marketing for system engineers.


IBM has a press release announcing its partnership with UCF for System Engineering education.

IBM and University of Central Florida Team to Prepare Graduates for High-Growth Technology Jobs

IBM helps UCF's Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering students create, develop and manage the smart products and services of the future

ARMONK, N.Y. & ORLANDO, FL. - 14 May 2010: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering (IASE) today announced they are working together to prepare students for jobs in systems engineering, a profession that is critical to the creation of the smart cities, healthcare systems and advanced products and systems of the future.

To help create the systems engineering workforce that is needed to tackle society’s most pressing technology development and integration challenges, IBM is investing more than $2 million in software, in-kind donations and consulting. Through this relationship, UCF students gain hands-on experience using IBM’s most popular systems engineering software.  In addition to its use in classroom activities, the IBM software gives students and faculty tools to compete for grants and participate in advanced research projects. IBM executives and technical staff provide input into the development of IASE curriculum and coursework, and support the university’s efforts to create a learning environment that emulates the real world of systems engineering.

I had a chance to interview University of Central Florida Professor Serge Sala-Diakanda.

The Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering (IASE) promotes the cross disciplinary research and education in systems engineering at the University of Central Florida, and is committed to developing advanced solution methodologies and tools for basic and advanced systems problems in a variety of application domains.

But first a little background.  I have an Industrial Engineering degree, and so glad I chose technology companies (HP, Apple, and Microsoft) instead of traditional manufacturing to work which eventually led me to working more as a systems engineer rather than a typical industrial engineer.

Sometimes it is easier to recognize a job by who the people are with the degrees.  Here is a short list.

Stephen Worn - DataCenterDynamics CTO

Tim Cook - COO Apple Computer.

John Muir - Sierra Club

Mike Duke - CEO Wal-Mart

David Harder - neighbor and part of a group of friends who have Industrial Engineering degrees. Gary Devendorf in another.

Interviewing Serge was a good chance to get into a lot of details on what UCF is doing in Systems Engineering.

IBM and University of Central Florida Team to Prepare Graduates for High-Growth Technology Jobs

Members of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering gain hands-on experience with IBM’s most popular systems engineering software as they prepare for careers creating the smart cities, healthcare systems and advanced products and systems of the future.

The IBM SW products that UCF uses are in the Rational Family.

Rational Doors

IBM Rational® DOORS®, a family of requirements definition and requirements management solutions, improves quality by optimizing communication and collaboration and by promoting compliance and verification.


IBM® Rational® ClearCase® provides comprehensive software configuration management for any size project.


IBM® Rational® Rhapsody® is a visual development environment for systems engineers and software developers creating real-time or embedded systems and software. Rational Rhapsody helps diverse teams collaborate to understand and elaborate requirements, abstract complexity visually using industry standard languages (UML, SysML, AUTOSAR, DoDAF, MODAF, UPDM), validate functionality early in development, and automate delivery of innovative, high quality products.

With all these SW tools from IBM, Serge and I discussed the issues for students to get real world experience as it can be big difference between the universities view of system design vs. the business environment.  One of the things it seems like IBM could do is create a System Engineer Marketplace for engineers who are trained with the IBM tools.  This is a problem I addressed by working co-op two times, and eventually having 1 year and 3 months experience as an engineer at HP before graduation.  The time at HP was valuable to put things in perspective as I finished my degree.

Something we didn't talk about is UCF's location in Orlando is close to another place Industrial Engineers work.

System Engineering approaches make sense for green data centers, but one of the things I learned is it is extremely difficult to be the lone system/industrial engineer.  Ideally, you need a community of other engineers to discuss ideas and approaches. 

Google does have an opening for Control Systems Engineer.  But, I doubt Google is looking for a System Engineer trained with IBM's Rational Toolset.  :-)

The role: Data Center Control Systems Engineer

Data Center Control Systems Engineers possess demonstrated design, operation, and construction experience in the areas of complex and mission critical facilities. You will have extensive knowledge of large-scale facilities controls and monitoring systems for all infrastructural systems.

As the Data Center Control Systems Engineer, you have excellent communication skills and are able to work in teams and matrix organizations. You are expected to develop and maintain strong functional relationships across multidisciplinary teams to anticipate future controls and monitoring design requirements. You will be continuously involved in the improvement of plant performance based on historical data collected and collaborate on retrofit projects to improve plant efficiency based on business case justifications. For this position, you will be traveling as needed, possibly up to 50% of the time.