Engineering, People, and Society

Theme: Engineering, People, and Society

How many fast passes should an amusement park distribute? How can a newspaper vendor balance fixed costs against uncertain demand? Why do you wait “forever” for a bus, only to see two or three arrive at the same time? If you’ve ever thought about these kinds of problems, you’ll like it here. This theme combines two disciplines focused on the operation of complex systems. Students learn statistically rooted frameworks to model and solve systems-level engineering problems. It is about making people and processes safer, more efficient and more effective. Operational researchers use their analytical and creative skills to develop better systems and operational procedures. There’s work in this field across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, communications, transportation, entertainment, finance, military, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

Innovation, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Society Microcourses

E200: Ethics, Engineering and Society

How can we identify and analyze ethical issues in engineering? How do leave room for rapid and disruptive innovation while responsibly considering the impact of technology on society and identifying the new ethical challenges that arise? This course provides an introduction to how theories, concepts, and methods from the humanities and social science can be applied to ethical problems in engineering.

E202A: Introduction to Design Methodology

This micro-course provides an introduction to design methods used in the development of innovative and realistic customer-driven engineered products, services, and systems. Design methods and tools are introduced and the student’s design ability is developed via a series of short design process modules: design research, analysis and synthesis, concept generation and creativity. Students will be expected to use tools and methods of professional practice to consider the social, economic and environmental implications of their products, services, or systems. There is an emphasis on hands-on innovative thinking and professional practice. Students have the choice to work individually or in teams to explore the course themes.

E203: Design and Evaluation of Modern experiment for Engineers and Executives

As an engineer or researcher you may be often called upon to conduct measurements, and report the results in such a manner that the data and its uncertainties can be understood by any other skilled professional. If you are a modeler, your validation usually depends on proper and constructively critical reading of such data. As a manager or executive you may be required to evaluate experimental proposals or data reported by others. Either way, one can benefit from having a firmer grasp of the material. Questions we work to be better prepared to address include: How do you cost effectively improve the experiment? How can you find a defect in real time in additively manufactured part? How to characterize droplets for making QLED screens? What new techniques are coming to benefit your industry, and how to evaluate if they are worth the cost? With experience from proposing, managing and evaluating experiments with shoestring to multimillion dollar budgets, your instructor will discuss measurements from review of fundamentals, present anonymized real-world cases, and conclude with discussion of new and upcoming state-of-art techniques of practical relevance.

E202B: Designing for the Human Body

Students will learn how the body transfers loads during daily activities and how external or internal device design can have a long-term impact on body biomechanical function. Some examples include the impact of phone use and forward flexion of the neck and asymmetrical spinal loading due to shoulder bags (e.g., impact on factory workers or military personnel). The role of human-centered design on internal and external devices will be presented through case studies. Lastly, the impact of data from novel portable measurement tools that can be incorporated into wearable devices will be discussed, with a specific focus on disease monitoring, prevention, and early detection.

E204B: The Flow of Power, Information and Money in Tomorrow’s Smart Grid

We begin by surveying the changing landscape of electricity grids: sensors such as PMUs, power electronics actuation such as FACTS devices, information technology, and control architectures. We introduce elements of energy economics with a focus on electricity markets including consumer and producer behavior. We then analyze the problems that deep renewable integration poses for grid operations and reliability. We explore the use of demand response from distributed resources (ex: flexible loads, storage, and electric vehicles) to enable cost-effective renewable integration. Tomorrow’s grid will have an intelligent periphery. We will explore the architectural and algorithmic components for managing this intelligent periphery for flexible load management. We then describe a vision for Grid2050 where the electricity delivery will evolve into interconnected micro-grids. Under this architecture, more power is generated and consumed locally.

E204A: Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0

The purpose of this course is to make the student fluent with the context, concepts and key content of the technologies that are driving what is collectively known as “Digital Transformation” (DT), and more specifically, focus on the industrial impact of DT, as captured under the term “Industry 4.0” (I4.0). This topic is quite important: for millennia we have improved our circumstances by managing our material surroundings: tools, shelter, supplies, land. Access to information is meant to enhance our efficiency in doing so, and dwindling resources, impeding climate change, and geopolitical strife are now stressing our planet. But this will not be a course in sociology, economics or geopolitics. Rather, it will be an engineering course, taught in these contexts.

E205: The Social Implications of Computing

This will be a discussion-intensive course about the social implications of computing. The purpose of this course is to help participants make informed and thoughtful choices about their careers, participation in society, and future development activities. Readings and lecture topics are drawn from a range of fields that together seek to describe our contemporary global society: sociology, philosophy, economics, public policy, and more. The instructor has taught this class at UC Berkeley and Peking University.