​The United States faces significant challenges -- and compelling opportunities -- in our enterprises that provide healthcare, urban systems, finance and security.

Logo for Center for Complex Systems & Enterprises


Our vision is to seamlessly integrated public-private enterprises that foster healthy, educated, and productive populations that are competitive in the global marketplace. We aim to enable and support evidence-based decision making in complex systems and enterprises via computational modeling, data analytics, and interactive visualizations. Our research includes human-centered concepts, principles, models, methods, tools, and data to support understanding and enable fundamental change, all in collaboration with thought leaders in industry, government and academia.

The Whole Enterprise Systems Approach

While private sector companies play important roles in these enterprises, the whole enterprise system associated with any of these domains must be characterized as a large-scale public-private enterprise. Transforming these public-private enterprises -- to address challenges and take advantage of opportunities -- presents daunting hurdles. These enterprises are laced with vested interests and conflicting objectives. Quite rationally, major stakeholders do their best to avoid marginalization of their investments in the status quo.

Image from the Immersion Lab
The Immersion Lab, a revolutionary learning space includes 8x20 foot, 180 degree set of interactive, touch-sensitive monitors. This environment literally immerses problem-solvers and decision-makers in the exploration of real or computationally imagined complex systems.

Stevens has found that a powerful mechanism for addressing such problems involves multi-level computational models of such enterprises, coupled with compelling interactive visualizations that enable key stakeholders to drive the future before they write the check. Such mechanisms enable strong discussions and debates in computational worlds where ideas and opinions are translated into strategies and policies that play out, showing consequences, both anticipated and emergent. At the very least, this enables rapid evaluation and elimination of many bad ideas. 

Developing such computational models in a reasonable amount of time and cost requires a principled approach that involves much re-use of computational modules. We have developed a modeling paradigm that, to date, appears to enable modeling any complex enterprise. Our test cases have thus far been in healthcare and security; with very early forays into energy.

Most complex organizational systems involve phenomena at multiple levels. At the bottom level are human activities and work -- assembling components, delivering services, or combating adversaries. At the next higher level, there are processes that deliver the physical resources and information that enables human activities and work. At the next level, there are organizations, often-independent businesses, which own processes or elements of processes, which they operate in pursuit of their own market objectives.

“CCSE is a visionary research center that expands beyond the traditional aspects of systems engineering to develop affordable and sustainable solutions to the key challenges we face as a nation.”

Jeffrey Wilcox, Corporate vice president for engineering, Lockheed Martin 

The goal of the Center for Complex Systems & Enterprises (CCSE) is to enable rapid conceptualization, development and validation of multi-level computational models, with associated interactive visualizations, for exploration of the types of issues outlined above. This trans-disciplinary Center mobilizes the research vision, experience, talent, creativity and capabilities across Stevens and our many collaborators.


University of Pennsylvania

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Rutgers University

Florida State University

National Security Agency (NSA)

University of Southern California

University of Pretoria