The Introduction to System Engineering

Question 1. (60 points) For each of the scenarios explained below, identify the system archetype and discuss the systems thinking lessons learned in a few sentences (3-4 sentences).

a. In 1950s, the Dayak people of Borneo, an island in South Asia, were suffering from an outbreak of Malaria. World Health Organization (WHO) has a ready-made solution, which was to spay copious amounts of DOT around the island. With the application of DDT, mosquitoes that carried the Malaria were knocked down, and so was the Malaria. DDT spraying to control malaria allegedly resulted in cats being poisoned in some areas, which led to increased rodent populations and, in turn, the parachuting of cats into the highlands of the island of Borneo to kill the rodents. Eventually, WHO decided to ban DDT spraying to control Malaria.

b. Consider a large company in which multiple departments must rely on one photocopy center for their copying needs. To meet all the department’s needs fairly, the jobs are completed on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, during a recent growth spurt at the company, employees from numerous departments had begun inundating the copy center with photocopy jobs. As the copy center’s workload ballooned, employees began complaining about the length of time it took the center to complete their jobs.

c. The customers of a small tech company are complaining about the rise in product delivery times. The CEO has been able to keep the problem in control by expediting orders when customers complain. However, when the issue was revisited at the end of the year, the company realizes that the average delivery time has risen to an all-time high of 5 weeks. So, the company decided to reduce the sale amount to coordinate the shipping process smoothly.

Question 2. (40 points) Google Glass was unveiled in 2013. It was targeted toward a general public audience but was discontinued in 2015 after beta versions failed to gain traction due to its high price tag of $1,500, clunky design, and concerns about privacy. The product failed because

• Consumers did not know what problems a wearable computer would solve for them and why they needed a $1,500 pair of glasses.

• The design was not aesthetically appealing. As The Guardian put it, users of the product looked like “dorks,” the “contemporary version of those 1950s engineers who always had several pens and a propelling pencil in their top jacket pockets.”

  • There was a public backlash over privacy concerns. Because the glasses allowed wearers to clandestinely record video – unlike the obvious presence of cell phone cameras – the product made bystanders uncomfortable. Nightclub bouncers, for example, banned patrons from wearing them.

• The same safety fears about cell phones and radiofrequency radiation were magnified with Google Glass because it was meant to be worn on your face all the time.

• The product had significant UI and firmware issues, with no product fixes for nearly three years. a) Define business, customers, systems, non-functional, and negative requirements for Google Glass (2-3 requirements for each requirement type). b) In a few sentences, discuss what systems engineering lessons Google has learned from this

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