Research & Innovation

BKCASE: A Systems Engineering Legacy

In the realm of Systems Engineering, Dr. Arthur Pyster, Distinguished Research Professor in the School of Systems and Enterprises at Stevens Institute of Technology, and the Chief Operating Officer of the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC), needs no introduction.

Be it academia or industry, in the past four decades, Dr. Pyster has made significant contributions in the global landscape of systems engineering. Nevertheless, as every visionary with an eye towards the future, and a responsibility to initiate change, in 2009, Dr. Pyster embarked on his journey to create a Body of Knowledge and Curriculum to Advance Systems Engineering (BKCASE).

“Creating a systems body of knowledge required connecting, creating and collaborating with several moving parts of the systems and human enterprise. The challenge was huge, but not impossible,” said Dr. Pyster.

Partnering with Dr. Dave Olwell, Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, and supported by the Department of Defense (DoD), Dr. Pyster collaborated with industry, academia and government, and led the BKCASE project to a stature where it is recognized as the most extensive and outstanding knowledge endeavor in the field of systems engineering today.

“The BKCASE project is a revolutionary advancement in the continuing maturation of the field of systems engineering,” said Dinesh Verma, Dean, School of Systems and Enterprises.

“This was really a labor of love, not just for me, but for all the contributors who came together to develop, and nurture a body of literature in a subject that they are passionate, and dedicated about,” mentioned Dr. Pyster.

“Designing the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK), and Graduate Reference Curriculum for Systems Engineering (GRCSE), has been the most interesting, fulfilling, and fun project of my life-time. Getting a diverse group of authors to converge, and work in sync across different time zones, and in different areas of expertise, within a specific knowledge sphere, was highly challenging. However, the team was motivated and enthusiastic about reaching a common goal – making BKCASE a golden ecosystem of systems engineering intelligence.”

As the editor-in-chief of BKCASE, Dr. Pyster and his team have worked tirelessly, and in four years BKCASE has involved 90 expert authors contributing from all over the world, writing 120 articles on the most salient aspects of systems engineering, defining hundreds of technical terms, and identifying the most critical books, articles, and websites in the field. Pages from the body of knowledge, which is freely available on the Internet, have been viewed by tens of thousands of people, and is benefiting systems engineers in all walks of life.

“With SEBoK and GRCSE, we have laid a great foundation. SEBoK is updated every few months to keep it fresh and reflective of the newest knowledge and best practices from the systems engineering community –the latest example is SEBoK v1.2 which went live on November 15, 2013,” said Dr. Pyster.

SEBoK has been adopted as a strategic asset in INCOSE and the IEEE Computer Society. Similarly, GRCSE recommendations on what to teach in graduate systems engineering programs have been used to start or update university programs around the world. In 2012, the BKCASE initiative was bestowed the Product of the Year Award by INCOSE.

“It’s been an exciting journey so far, summed up Dr. Pyster. A new editor-in-chief is stepping in now to build on what has been created, and will be bringing new dimensions to the work such as adding videos and other multimedia formats to convey the body of knowledge.”