Tired of circling the block looking for that elusive parking space? So was Professor Christos Cassandras. That’s why he and his team of students are working on a Smart Parking app, designed to cut out the stress, lost time and wasted fuel that urban drivers deal with on a regular basis.
Our system could reduce air pollution and traffic congestion, and give cities a powerful traffic management tool.
On an average day in a major city, 30 percent of vehicles are cruising for a parking spot at any given time, and it usually takes about eight minutes to find one. With the Smart Parking app, a smartphone-equipped driver submits a reservation request through a website, and a computer-linked sensor network automatically finds the best spot for each driver. The process takes just seconds.
The project is one of several at BU working toward smarter cities that streamline the complexities of urban life. Cassandras is among those participating in BU’s Sustainable Neighborhood Lab, which is testing these cutting-edge technologies in actual Boston neighborhoods.
An Interdisciplinary Approach
Systems engineering enables building, analyzing and managing a system—be it electrical, mechanical, chemical, biological or one involving business processes and logistics. Traditionally, engineering disciplines are defined through physical attributes: electrical engineers work with circuits and transistors, aeronautical engineers with airplanes and rockets. Systems engineering transcends the physical nature of what is designed or managed—if “it” consists of multiple interacting components performing a function that cannot be achieved by any one component alone, then “it” is a system, and systems engineers can work to understand and improve it.
What Do Our Graduates Do?
Our graduates pursue careers in a variety of industries and academic disciplines, where they are highly valued for their flexibility and versatility.
What our graduates are doing:
- Developing computer simulation packages for software providers
- Building and evaluating models for communication, computer and sensor networks
- Inventing new scheduling and production control algorithms for manufacturing enterprises
- Developing effective air traffic management systems
- Analyzing the feasibility of relying on teams of autonomous vehicles for military and civilian applications
Why Study At BU?
The BU College of Engineering has made a major commitment to systems engineering as a discipline. We recently created a Division of Systems Engineering with 13 participating faculty members and additional research affiliates from across the University. The division is closely tied to the Center for Information & Systems Engineering, an interdisciplinary research center that brings together researchers with expertise in engineering, computer science, mathematics and management. The center’s strong industry connections provide opportunities for internships, exposure to “real-world” systems engineering problems and eventual employment opportunities.
BU offers research-based Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy programs in Systems Engineering, as well as a professional Master of Engineering degree. Systems Engineering is also available to undergraduates as a minor.
What Does BU Offer?
- Minor in Systems Engineering
- Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering
- Master of Science in Systems Engineering
- Doctor of Philosophy in Systems Engineering
Visit the Division of Systems Engineering website for more information.
View a full-color brochure on intelligent systems research at the College of Engineering
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