Completed July 2014

Finding integrated and effective approaches to large complex engineering challenges requires cross-disciplinary collaboration and a strong systems-based approach.

The MIT Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals (CESF) was a program that was founded in 2005 and active through the fiscal year of 2014. It combined traditional engineering with a sociotechnical systems approach to examine systems at the intersection of engineering, management, and social science. CESF worked to improve both systems design and their operations.

CESF conducted research in five areas:

  • Preparedness and Response to Pandemic Influenza
  • Preparedness and Response to Hurricanes
  • U.S. Presidential Elections: Fairness of the Voting Precinct Queuing Process
  • Congestion Pricing for Critical Infrastructure Systems
  • Distance Learning Systems and Processes for Developing Countries

CESF applied a hands-on approach and deep engineering analysis to plan for future scenarios. CESF researchers have created response systems to handle medical pandemics and natural disasters, technology systems to help in pricing public utilities, and implemented e-learning software for long-distance learning in developing nations. The CESF approach combined a foundation in traditional engineering with social sciences and management and applies physics and other natural science perspectives.

Previous research focused on improving flexible learning to advance early engagement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The MIT BLOSSOMS Initiative is a global education network developed to bring STEM videos to high school classrooms around the world and foster open access to STEM education.