Instructor Information

Steven Biemer

Work Phone: 240-228-5298
Cell Phone: 443-514-8006

Course Information

Course Description

This course addresses the special engineering problems associated with conceiving, developing, and operating systems composed of groups of complex systems closely linked to function as integral entities. The course will start with the underlying fundamentals of systems’ requirements, design, test and evaluation, and deployment, and how they are altered in the multi-system environment. These topics will then be extended to information flow and system interoperability, confederated modeling and simulation, use of commercial off-the-shelf elements, and systems engineering collaboration between different organizations. Advanced principles of information fusion, causality theory with Bayesian networks, and capability dependencies will be explored. Several case studies will be discussed for specific military systems of systems, including missile defense and combatant vehicle design, as well as selected commercial examples.Course Note(s): Selected as one of the electives in the MSE or MS program or a required course for the post-master’s certificate.


EN.645.769 System Test and Evaluation or advisor and instructor approval.

Course Goal

The goal of this coure is to develop a better understanding of

  • the special engineering problems associated with conceiving, developing, and operating systems composed of groups of complex systems closely linked to function as integral entities, a system of systems; and
  • the tools, techniques, and methods available to the systems engineer for dealing with these unique systems.

Course Objectives

  • Identify the major components / activities / attributes / interactions of a system of systems.

  • Understand the process of developing, acquiring and fielding a system of systems.

  • Construct functional and physical architectures of a proposed system of systems to address a problem.

  • Represent uncertainty of information flow, causality of behavior, and decision making within a system of systems.

When This Course is Typically Offered

This course is typically offered in the Spring online and at Dorsey Center.


  • System of Systems Description
  • System of Systems Engineering Process
  • Complexity
  • Representing Uncertainty in System of Systems
  • Representing Causality in System of Systems
  • Representing Decisions in System of Systems
  • Case Studies

Student Assessment Criteria

Individual Homework (5 Assignments) 50%
Individual Discussion Submissions (5 Submissions) 20%
Individual Project 30%

All homework is due at the end of the module (which is typically 2-3 weeks in length). Late homework must have the prior permission of the instructor.

Students are expected to submit the following to receive a grade for the course:

5 Homework assignments
5 discussion responses (both parts)
Project Final Report

It is assumed that graduate students are adept at writing English and no points will normally be subtracted for English errors; in cases of exceptionally poor English points will be deducted. All external sources of information used to support must be appropriately referenced.

Computer and Technical Requirements


Because Blackboardis web-driven, all you need to access it is a web browser that handles frames, tables, and Javascript. For more information on accessibility issues, see "Accessibility" under the Help tool on the left of the screen.

PDF Viewer:

You will need the free Adobe PDF viewer software to view PDF files in this course. Go to

Zip Software:

You will also need software for "zipping" and "unzipping" (compressing and uncompressing) files. Two popular shareware "zip" programs can be downloaded from the sites linked below:

For Windows - WinZip at
For Macintosh - ZipIt at
Adobe Connect:

You will be using Adobe Connect, a web-based conferencing system, to participate in real time office hours. To use Adobe Connect, please perform a connection test on your computer to make sure your software is current by going to and selecting Connection Test. If you have any trouble connecting to an Adobe Connect meeting, please visit the Technical Support website at After reviewing the contents of this site, if you still need assistance please e-mail or complete the online support form.

If you are a first-time ep Online student, you will have an opportunity to test the Adobe Connect software during the week long mandatory ep Online Orientation. Others can email ep Online at if they are interested in attending one of the 30-minute online orientations to Adobe Connect.

Other Requirements

An office suite such as MS Office or OpenOffice

Participation Expectations

This course will consist of three basic student requirements:

Homework. Homework will consist of five assignments corresponding to the five modules. These assignments will be available in the Assignments section and are expected to be completed within the module period. They are individual work—although any non-human source is available to you. Many problems will require some research outside of the class lectures and the reference. All research for this class, however, can be accomplished via the Internet.

All homework is due by the due date (provided in the Assignments section, and the calendar). If you are going to be late with an assignment, please let the instructors know (via email). You will generally be given a one-week extension.

All homework assignments are worth 10 points each.

Discussion. During the course, students are expected to engage in online discussion via Blackboard. The discussion assignments will consist of two parts. First, a series of discussion questions or statements will be provided by the instructors at the beginning of the module. Students are expected to provide responses to those questions and statements by the mid-point of the module. This first part is an individual assignment, and the student is expected to provide original work in their responses.

The second part of the discussion is to respond to other students’ posts. Students should post responses to other statements, including engaging in a discussion with other students about particular issues raised. Students should provide responses by the end of the module. Keep in mind, that you don't have to wait to respond to other students' responses. You can begin posting comments at any time.

The instructors may also provide responses to students’ submissions (in either part), and at times, the instructors may post additional questions for the students.

In summary, students are expected to post initial, individual responses to discussion questions and statements by the mid-point of the module, and participate in a discussion of those initial responses by the end of the module.

There will be 5 opportunities to engage in online discussion. Students are required to engage in all FIVE of those opportunities.

Individual Project. Students will be required to choose between two different types of projects: (1) a scholarly research project on a topic selected by the student and approved by the instructor; OR (2) a conceptual design of a system of systems selected by the student. Example topics are available on request. Project materials will be provided in the Course Content section of Sakai for download by the students. The project will consist of a final report in MS Word format presenting your work and conclusions.


Textbook information for this course is available online through the MBS Direct Virtual Bookstore.

Course Notes

There are no notes for this course.

Term Specific Course Website

(Last Modified: 12/11/2014 09:50:00 AM)