degree, comparable in standard to a
Ph.D. in computer science or engineering. Students get an engineering
doctorate, or EngD, in LSCITS, 20 with
the following key differences between
EngD and Ph.D.:
Industrial problems. Students must
work on and spend significant time
on an industrial problem. Universities
cannot simply replicate the complexity of modern software-intensive systems, with few faculty members having experience and understanding of
Range of courses. Students must take
a range of courses focusing on complexity and systems engineering (such
as for LSCITS, socio-technical systems,
high-integrity systems engineering,
empirical methods, and technology innovation); and
Portfolio of work. Students do not
have to deliver a conventional thesis, a
book on a single topic, but can deliver
a portfolio of work around their selected area; it is a better reflection of work
in industry and makes it easier for the
topic to evolve as systems change and
new research emerges.
However, graduating a few advanced
doctoral students is not enough. Universities and industry must also create
master’s courses that educate com-plex-systems engineers for the coming
decades; our thoughts on what might
be covered are outlined in Figure 2.
The courses must be multidisciplinary,
combining engineering and business
disciplines. It is not only the knowledge the disciplines bring that is important but also that students be sensitized to the perspectives of a variety
of disciplines and so move beyond the
silo of single-discipline thinking.
Since the emergence of widespread
networking in the 1990s, all societies
have grown increasingly dependent on
complex software-intensive systems,
with failure having profound social
and economic consequences. Industrial organizations and government
agencies alike build these systems
without understanding how to analyze
their behavior and without appropriate
engineering principles to support their
The SEI ULSS report14 argued that
current engineering methods are inad-
equate, saying: “For 40 years, we have
embraced the traditional engineering
perspective. The basic premise under-
lying the research agenda presented in
this document is that beyond certain
complexity thresholds, a traditional
centralized engineering perspective is
no longer adequate nor can it be the
primary means by which ultra-complex
systems are made real.” A key contri-
bution of our work in LSCITS is articu-
lating the fundamental reasons this
assertion is true. By examining how en-
gineering has a basis in the philosophi-
cal notion of reductionism and how
reductionism breaks down in the face
of complexity, it is inevitable that tradi-
tional software-engineering methods
will fail when used to develop LSCITS.
Current software engineering is simply
not good enough. We need to think dif-
ferently to address the urgent need for
new engineering approaches to help
construct large-scale complex coali-
tions of systems we can trust.
We would like to thank our colleagues
Gordon Baxter and John Rooksby of St.
Andrews University in Scotland and
Hillary Sillitto of Thales Land & Joint
Systems U.K. for their constructive
comments on drafts of this article. The
work report here was partially funded
by the U.K. Engineering and Physical
Science Research Council (www.epsrc.
ac.uk) grant EP/F001096/1.
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Ian Sommerville ( email@example.com)
is a professor in the school of Computer science, st.
andrews university, scotland.
Dave Cliff ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a professor in the
department of Computer science, bristol university,
Radu Calinescu ( email@example.com) is a lecturer in
the department of Computer science, aston university,
Justin Keen ( J.Keen@leeds.ac.uk) is a professor in the
school of health informatics, leeds university, england.
Tim Kelly ( tim.Kelly@cs.york.ac.uk) is a senior lecturer
in the department of Computer science, york university,
Marta Kwiatkowska ( Marta.Kwiatkowska@comlab.ox.ac.
uk) is a professor in the department of Computer science,
oxford university england.
John McDermid ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a professor in
the department of Computer science, york university,
Richard Paige ( email@example.com) is a professor in
the department of Computer science, york university,