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Systems Design Engineering


Effective solutions to problems involving both society and technology must be based on a broad systems point-of-view. Not only must the overall technical factors of these problems be carefully considered, but the economic, social, human and political parameters must be given equally careful attention. When large scale engineering problems are under study, few people can be knowledgeable of the complete span of factors and parameters which must be considered. For these cases, solutions must be arrived at by interdisciplinary teams where each member contributes his or her own special expertise. In order to work effectively on this team, each member needs to be aware of the fundamental systems and design aspects of the problem. The rapid growth and complexity of industry have, indeed, created unusual problems; however, underlying the complexities of modern civilization and technology are similarities which make it possible to approach problems in many diverse fields with essentially the same concepts, theories and techniques. Systems science has emerged as a scientific discipline for quantitative analysis, design and control of large classes of problems in engineering and social sciences.

The undergraduate program in Systems Design Engineering at Waterloo is a study of those basic skills required for system analysis, simulation, optimization and design. Numerous examples may be cited where these systems design fundamentals may be applied: transportation, engineering design, computer applications, water resources engineering, production, planning and scheduling, environmental pollution, education. Of course the importance of specialized expertise in these areas should not be minimized, but these skills usually work most effectively toward problem solutions when operating within an overall systems context.

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The Engineering Profession

Systems Design Engineering is a unique engineering discipline which is formally accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB). With two years of work experience beyond graduation (BASc)1, the Systems Design Engineer may apply for registration as a Professional Engineer. If a Masters degree (MASc)2 in Systems Design is also obtained, only one year of work experience is required before application.

Each province within Canada has its own Professional Engineering Association. The Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) is a national organization that has representation from all of the Provincial Professional Engineering Associations. The CEAB determines what types of courses must be contained in a university engineering program in order for the program to meet the standards of Canadian engineering. The Systems Design Engineering program satisfies the strict standards of the CEAB and is therefore acknowledged as a fully qualified Engineering Program. In fact, the Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo is the only department of its kind in all of Canada.

The Systems Design Engineering program is specifically oriented towards developing graduates who can solve problems lying at the interface of technology and the human environment. Therefore, if you are technically oriented and also have a strong parallel interest in social and human problems, Systems Design Engineering may be the right program for you.

The Department of Systems Design Engineering also offers programs leading to MASc and PhD3 degrees, and in the past many Systems Design Engineering students have gone on to complete graduate degrees. The faculty members of the Department are involved in a wide spectrum of research activities such as conflict analysis, pattern recognition, ergonomics, computer engineering, and solar energy. Students who also wish to do research in one of these areas may start at the undergraduate level by entering the combined Bachelor's - Master's program at the end of their 3B academic term. In this way they will be able to complete a Master's degree within one year after receiving their Bachelor's degree.

The Systems Design Engineering program is quite challenging. It is not easy to acquire the tools for resolving the problems of complex systems. Moreover, these tools are becoming more and more sophisticated. Thus, the average student in Systems Design Engineering is expected to work at least 50 hours per week as he or she increases in awareness of the theories of human communication, makes progress in the areas of Systems Theory, Human Systems Engineering, and Socio-Economic Systems, and absorbs the implications of the tremendous growth of electronic computing systems.

Further information is available from:
Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies
Department of Systems Design Engineering
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1
(519) 885-1211, Ext. 2600

High School Liaison Officer
Department of Systems Design Engineering
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1
(519) 885-1211, Ext. 3182 or Ext. 2600

Footnotes
1 BASc Bachelor of Applied Science
2 MASc Master of Applied Science
3 PhD Doctor of Philosophy

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Employment Opportunities

Graduates of Systems Design Engineering will find employment opportunities in a number of diverse fields. To some extent, the technical elective area chosen by the student in the third and fourth year determines more specifically what he or she does upon graduation. Some particular types of jobs which Systems Design engineers may be involved with include:

These types of professional activities may fall within the domain of one or more engineering disciplines such as chemical, civil (e.g. structural, water resource and transportation systems), electrical (e.g. circuit design and microprocessor applications), mechanical (e.g. energy conversion and design of machines), environmental (e.g. environmental impact assessment and planning), industrial and human engineering.

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Undergraduate Curriculum in Systems Design Engineering

The Undergraduate program in Systems Design Engineering encompasses a study of the basic skills required for systems analysis, simulation, optimization and design. In particular the first three years of the program are intended to provide each student with a broad background and capability in the areas of:

Throughout these three years the student's ability to grasp real engineering problems is enhanced by courses in Systems Design methodology followed by a series of challenging problem-solving experiences in the Systems Design Workshop. It is here that a focus is given to the whole curriculum and the student learns to apply the lecture material, to develop skills in solving problems that cut across the traditional disciplines, and to develop design, planning and organizational abilities.

These first three years of the program are followed by one year in which the problem solving capabilities of the student are applied with emphasis in one particular area of technology. This provides the required background for a future year of advanced study to the MASc degree, or for a rewarding career in industry or government with the Bachelor's degree (BASc).

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Complementary Studies Electives

Five courses must be chosen to satisfy the Complementary Studies requirements.

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Systems Design Engineering Undergraduate Core Curriculum (Listed by Terms)


1A (Fall)
SY DE 101 Tutorial
SY DE 111 Calculus 1
SY DE 121 Digital Computation
SY DE 161 Introduction to Systems Design Engineering
SY DE 181 Physics 1 (Statics)
SY DE 183 Chemistry

1B (Spring)
SY DE 102 Tutorial
SY DE 112 Calculus 2
SY DE 114 Linear Algebra
SY DE 142 Introduction to Human Systems
SY DE 182 Physics 2 (Dynamics)
SY DE 192 Digital Systems

2A (Winter)
SY DE 201 Tutorial
SY DE 211 Differential Equations
SY DE 213 Probability
SY DE 221 Software Design
SY DE 281 Mechanics of Deformable Solids
SY DE 283 Physics 3 (Electricity, Magnetism, and Optics)

2B (Fall)
SY DE 202 Tutorial
SY DE 214 Statistics
SY DE 252 Linear Systems and Signals
SY DE 282 Fluid Mechanics
SY DE 292 Circuits, Instrumentation, and Measurements
1 Complementary Studies Elective

3A (Spring)
SY DE 301 Tutorial
SY DE 311 Engineering Optimization
SY DE 331 Engineering Economics
SY DE 351 Systems Models 1
SY DE 361 Introduction to Design
SY DE 381 Thermodynamics

3B (Winter)
SY DE 302 Tutorial
SY DE 312 Numerical Methods
SY DE 352 Introduction to Control Systems
SY DE 362 Systems Design Workshop 1
1 Technical Elective
1 Complementary Studies Elective

4A (Fall)
SY DE 401 Tutorial
SY DE 461 Systems Design Workshop 2
2 Technical Electives
2 Complementary Studies Electives

4B (Winter)
SY DE 402 Tutorial
SY DE 462 Systems Design Workshop 3
3 Technical Electives
1 Complementary Studies Elective

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Technical Electives in Systems Design Engineering

Each undergraduate student in Systems Design Engineering must choose a technical elective package by the 3B term.

Additionally, the Faculty of Engineering has approved Options in the following areas:
Computer Engineering
Environmental Engineering
International Studies in Engineering
Management Sciences
Mathematics
Physics
Society, Technology and Values
Statistics
Water Resources

Students who complete the requirements of these designated Options will receive a final academic transcript from the University with a statement that the Option has been successfully completed. Students should refer to the earlier section, "Complementary Studies Requirements, Options and Electives for Engineering students" for further information. Details for Management Sciences and Computer Engineering Options for Systems Design Engineering students are included at the end of this section.

The Department of Systems Design Engineering offers a wide variety of technical elective courses in the third and fourth year. Students are encouraged to design their own elective programs to develop expertise in their particular interest area. Courses may be chosen from other departments as well as from Systems Design Engineering, subject to the approval of the undergraduate advisor.

The Department has identified four technical elective areas within its current offerings. In each area students may want to consider courses from other departments to complement their choices within Systems Design Engineering. Additional information may be obtained from the Undergraduate Associate Chair and faculty advisors. Six technical and four Complementary Studies Electives are required during the final three terms (3B, 4A and 4B). Students may arrange the sequencing of the elective slots to suit their program. Additional electives may be taken with the approval of the Undergraduate Associate Chair.

Many of the courses within the four departmental technical elective areas can be used as credits towards the various Faculty of Engineering Option programs. Moreover, students may find it possible to arrange their electives in such a way as to complete the requirements for more than one faculty Option as well as a departmental technical elective area. To do this, students with sufficiently high grades are encouraged, subject to approval from the Undergraduate Associate Chair, to supplement their programs through extra courses or courses taken by distance education or at other universities during work terms.

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Human Systems Engineering

The elective package in Human Systems Engineering offers students the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills applicable to the design and analysis of systems that interact closely with human beings. The Department offers a selection of courses in the areas of human factors engineering and ergonomics, occupational safety, and biomedical engineering. Courses in engineering, psychology and physiological modelling provide an overview of human characteristics, abilities, and limits. Application-oriented courses show how this information can be applied in the design of interactive systems, in biomedical and clinical systems, and in the industrial workplace. In addition, students are encouraged to select other courses which complement and strengthen their chosen field of study. These might include courses in statistics and experimental design, perception and pattern recognition, physiology and kinesiology, or psychology. The elective courses in this package are as follows:


3B (Winter)
SY DE 342 Industrial Ergonomics
SY DE 384 Materials Engineering
SY DE 444 Biomedical Engineering: Human Function and Its Measurement

4A (Fall)
SY DE 453 Time Domain Models for Physical Systems
SY DE 543 Engineering Psychology and Human Performance
SY DE 575 Image Processing

4B (Winter)
SY DE 372 Introduction to Pattern Recognition
SY DE 442 Occupational and Environmental Systems Safety
SY DE 444 Biomedical Engineering: Human Function and Its Measurement (if not taken in 3B)
SY DE 454 Computer Simulation of Systems
SY DE 548 Design of Human-Machine Systems

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Intelligent Systems

The Intelligent Systems elective package provides a theoretical and methodological framework for the study of RInformation EngineeringS, an emerging field that includes artificial intelligence, robotics, communication, RsmartS machines, and human-computer symbiosis. The systems-oriented approach emphasizes pattern analysis, since the recognition and classification of patterns is central to both human and machine intelligence, as well as finding application in many subfields of engineering. Courses in artificial perception (Image Processing) and artificial reasoning (Machine Intelligence) provide focused views in key application areas. The intelligent systems field provides one of the richest environments in which to acquire the familiarity with algorithms and data structures essential for disciplined software system design. Elective courses in this package are as follows:


3B (Winter)
SY DE 324 Data Structures and Algorithms
SY DE 372 Introduction to Pattern Recognition
4A (Fall)
SY DE 423 Computer Algorithm Design and Analysis
SY DE 453 Time Domain Models for Physical Systems
SY DE 511 Optimization Methods for Stochastic Systems
SY DE 513 Linear Graph Theory and Application
SY DE 543 Engineering Psychology and Human Performance
SY DE 575 Image Processing

4B (Winter)
SY DE 422 Machine Intelligence
SY DE 432 Numerical Optimization
SY DE 434 Random Processes in the Environment
SY DE 548 Design of Human-Machine Systems

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Societal and Environmental Systems

When analysing, operating or designing a complex engineering project, a variety of interactions with the natural and social environment must be considered. Within this package are courses which present the methods and techniques for formally studying societal and environmental systems from an engineering perspective. Specifically, the courses are to provide a strong background in probability and statistics, economics, mathematical modelling (deterministic and stochastic) and decision methodologies. Additional experience is gained by doing related workshop projects.

Interested students may wish to include the Designated Faculty Option in Environmental Engineering in their package. The courses in this elective package are:


2B (Fall)
BIOL 250 Ecology
ERS 241K Introduction to Environmental and Social Impact Assessment*

3B (Winter)
ENV E 220 Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology
ENV E 320 Environmental Resource Management
ENV E 420 Modelling of the Environment

4A (Fall)
ERS 241K Introduction to Environmental and Social Impact Assessment*
SY DE 461 Systems Design Workshop 2 (Core, replaces ENV E 430)**

4B (Winter)
ENV E 320 Environmental Resource Management
ENV E 420 Modelling of the Environment
ERS 241K Introduction to Environmental and Social Impact Assessment*
SY DE 462 Systems Design Workshop 3 (Core, replaces ENV E 431)**
SY DE 536 Environmental Systems Models

* ERS 241K is a Complementary Studies Elective and satisfies the Faculty's impact of technology on society requirement.
** The workshop topics must meet the Faculty option requirements for ENV E 430/431. Students may also wish to include a significant societal component in their topic proposals.

Students may choose the remaining electives (two technical, four complementary) according to interest, subject to approval of the Undergraduate Advisor.

Alternatively, students may elect to design their own package by selecting an appropriate combination of six technical and five complementary courses from the course calendar. Relevant course headings include Systems Design, Chemical and Civil Engineering, Environmental and Resource Studies, Geography, Sociology, Political Science, Biology, Economics, and Society, Technology and Values. Elective courses in this package include:


3B (Winter)
SY DE 334 Applied Statistics
SY DE 372 Introduction to Pattern Recognition

4A (Fall)
SY DE 511 Optimization Methods for Stochastic Systems
SY DE 533 Conflict Analysis
SY DE 575 Image Processing

4B (Winter)
SY DE 432 Numerical Optimization
SY DE 434 Random Processes in the Environment
SY DE 454 Computer Simulation of Systems
SY DE 536 Environmental Systems Models

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Systems Modelling and Analysis

The Systems Modelling and Analysis elective package offers the student a selection of elective courses that encompasses the theory, methods and mathematics of engineering systems design. In modern engineering practice, a design engineer is increasingly confronted with complex projects involving a variety of interdisciplinary sub-systems. The engineer must understand the operation of each sub-system, and be able to integrate them together to achieve an efficient and appropriate solution to the overall problem. The Systems Modelling and Analysis elective package introduces modelling and analysis of deterministic and probabilistic systems, as well as discrete and distributed parameter systems. The courses comprising the elective package emphasize analytical as well as computer based methods; the use of currently available computer aided analysis and design packages are encouraged.

The elective package structure is such that the students enrolled in this elective package can take additional courses, possibly from other departments, in order to specialize in any specific engineering discipline and at the same time obtain a strong systems modelling and design foundation. The elective courses for this package are as follows:


3B (Winter)
SY DE 354 Systems Models 2
SY DE 384 Materials Engineering

4A (Fall)
SY DE 453 Time Domain Models for Physical Systems
SY DE 513 Linear Graph Theory and Applications
SY DE 521 Computer Aided Design
SY DE 551 Stability of Systems
SY DE 553 Advanced Dynamics
SY DE 555 Modelling of Continuum Systems
SY DE 575 Image Processing

4B (Winter)
SY DE 372 Introduction to Pattern Recognition
SY DE 432 Numerical Optimization
SY DE 452 Analysis of Large Systems
SY DE 454 Computer Simulation of Systems
SY DE 536 Environmental Systems Models

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Option in Management Sciences

This option consists of a mixture of courses, some of which are technical in nature, and some of which qualify as complementary studies courses. It is intended for students interested in the issues, concepts and techniques related to managerial problems, particularly in technologically-based organizations. The courses in the option, in addition to Systems Design Engineering core courses, are:


2A (Winter)
M SCI 211 Organizational Behaviour 1 (Complementary Studies Course)
PSYCH 338 Organizational Psychology (Complementary Studies Course)

any three of the following:


3B (Winter)
M SCI 311 Organizational Design and Technology (Complementary Studies Course)
SY DE 334 Applied Statistics

4A (Fall)
M SCI 461 Managerial and Engineering Economics 2 (Complementary Studies Course)
SY DE 511 Optimization Methods for Stochastic Systems

4B (Winter)
M SCI 441 Management Information Systems (Complementary Studies Course)
M SCI 432 Introduction to Production Management

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Option in Computer Engineering

The aim of this Option is to augment the core curriculum with technical elective courses from the Systems Design Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Computer Science departments so that students can acquire a strong background in both hardware and software aspects of computer systems. The focus is on software development, computer interface design and applications.

In addition to the Systems Design core courses which are mandatory for this Option, the following technical electives are required:


3B (Winter)
SY DE 324 Data Structures and Algorithms

4A (Fall)
SY DE 423 Computer Algorithm Design and Analysis

4B (Winter)
E&CE 427 Digital Systems Engineering
and three other 300-, 400- or 500-level courses from Systems Design Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Computer Science approved by the Computer Engineering Option Advisor in the Department. Some of these courses are:
CS 354 Operating Systems
CS 442 Principles of Programming Languages
CS 446 Software Systems Design and Implementation
CS 450 Computer Architecture
CS 486 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (Antireq: SY DE 422)
CS 487 Introduction to Symbolic Computation
E&CE 411 Data Communication
E&CE 412 Digital Communication
E&CE 413 Digital Signal Processing
E&CE 428 Computer Communications Networks
SY DE 372 Introduction to Pattern Recognition
SY DE 422 Machine Intelligence (Antireq: CS 486)
SY DE 521 Computer Aided Design
SY DE 575 Image Processing

Information regarding all other faculty approved options is available at the beginning of this chapter.

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