Olivier de Weck

Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems
Co–Director, Center for Complex Engineering Systems

Olivier de Weck is an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems, co-director of the Center for Complex Engineering Systems (CCES), and secretary and treasurer for the Council of Engineering Systems Universities (CESUN). Prof. deWeck was born in Switzerland and holds degrees in industrial engineering from ETH Zurich (1993) and aerospace systems engineering from MIT (2001). Before joining MIT he was a liaison engineer and later engineering program manager on the F/A-18 aircraft program at McDonnell Douglas (1993-1997).

Prof. de Weck is a leader in systems engineering research. He focuses on how complex man-made systems such as aircraft, spacecraft, automobiles, printers, and critical infrastructures are designed and how they evolve over time. His main emphasis is on strategic properties that have the potential to maximize lifecycle value (the "iIities"). Since 2001 his group has developed novel quantitative methods and tools that explicitly consider manufacturability, flexibility, commonality, and sustainability among other characteristics. Significant results include the Adaptive Weighted Sum (AWS) method for resolving tradeoffs amongst multiple objectives, Time-Expanded Decision Networks (TDN), the Delta-Design Structure Matrix (DDSM) for technology infusion analysis, and the SpaceNet and CityNet simulation environment. These methods have impacted complex systems in space exploration (NASA, JPL), oil and gas exploration (BP) as well as in sophisticated electro-mechanical products (e.g., Xerox, Pratt & Whitney, DARPA).

Prof. de Weck’s teaching emphasizes excellence, innovation, and the bridging of theory and practice. He is an associate fellow of AIAA, a fellow of INCOSE, and serves as associate editor for the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets and the Journal of Mechanical Design. He won the 2006 Frank E. Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising, a 2007 AIAA Outstanding Service Award, the 2008 and 2011 best paper awards from the journal Systems Engineering and the 2010 Capers and Marion MacDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising. From 2008-2011 he served as associate head of the Engineering Systems Division (ESD) at MIT. Since early 2011 he has served as executive director of the MIT Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) initiative.

“MIT really is a systems-thinking place,” he says. “Yes, you need to understand the scientific principles but you also need to consider real world environments and impact. That is really in the DNA of MIT.”

Multidisciplinary System Design Optimization (16.888/ESD.77), System Project Management (ESD.36), Space Systems Engineering (16.89), Engineering Design and Rapid Prototyping (16.810), Product Platform and Product Family Design: From Strategy to Implementation (ESD.39s), Fundamentals of Systems Engineering (16.842), Unified Engineering (16.010–040)

Research Interests: 

Lifecycle Properties of Systems ('Ilities')

Space Exploration Logistics

Space Logistics and Resource Management

Strategy, Manufacturing and Production

Systems Engineering

Systems Engineering for Changeability and Commonality

In the News: 

Olivier de Weck named new editor-in-chief of INCOSE's flagship journal Systems Engineering. February 11, 2013.

Prof. Oli de Weck named as fellow at 2012 INCOSE Annual Conference in Rome. July 27, 2012.

ESD's Oli de Weck was spotlighted on MIT's homepage, June 15, 2012.

With shuttle's end, space firms seek new direction.” April 29, 2012.

Trying to save missions to Mars.” Marketplace, American Public Media, February 27, 2012.

MIT faculty see promise in American manufacturing.” MIT News, January 25, 2012 (MIT homepage spotlight story).

TPP alum Michael Pasqual and Prof. Olivier de Weck win a "Reviewers’ Favorite" award at ICED2011, August 19, 2011.

Opening of Center for Complex Engineering Systems at KACST and MIT, July 27, 2011.

The International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) selected the Systems Engineering paper by Olivier de Weck, Eun Suk Suh, Michael Furst, and Kenneth Mihalyov for journal’s 2010 Best Paper of the Year Award. MIT website, June 20, 2011.

Olivier de Weck wins Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising, May 7, 2010.


MIT AgeLab team wins Excellent Paper Award at IEEE ICT Convergence Conference, MIT News, October 7, 2011

Papers presented at the 2004 Engineering Systems Symposium:
Co-Author of "The Influence of Architecture in Engineering Systems."

Co-Author of "Uncertainty Management for Engineering Systems Planning and Design."

Books Published by Olivier L. de Weck

Haberfellner R., O. de Weck O., E. Fricke E., and S. Vössner. Systems Engineering – Grundlagen und Anwendungen, 12th ed., Orell Füssli Verlag, Zurich, ISBN–13:978–3–280–04068–3, February 2012 (440 pages).

de Weck, Olivier, Daniel Roos, and Christopher L. Magee. Engineering Systems: Meeting Human Needs in a Complex Technological World. The book explains the field of engineering systems and provides a general framework for thinking about sociotechnical engineering. Read more about the book and the MIT Press Engineering Systems Book Series on the MIT Press website.