Author Archives: Alan Tatourian

Career Advice

Control Engineering magazine just published a survey where respondents offered career advice. I extracted some that I thought was the most valuable. You can read entire report in the magazine. I love this quote: Set goals, work to accomplish goals, and don’t worry about anything. Here’s my advice: Dare mighty things! Refuse to do work […]

Origins of the Space Shuttle or The Making of a new Program

I always think that system engineering is about the people who work together having really good communication. And it’s that kind of communication that does good system engineering, tools or not! A little more on solid versus liquid. Solids could be shipped by rail. To say it another way, the diameter of the solids is […]

Think about trust, not threats

A conversation arose today about threat analysis and I responded that I am against this practice of doing threat analysis. I thought that others will benefit from reminding them about design goals and how security fits in them. Threat – countermeasure is easy to explain to a novice but produces very ugly and inefficient systems. […]

Thermodynamics or computation

Cells compute. In each cell in you right now most of the energy burn is going to translation. That is, in the ribosomes where your DNA basically is turned into protein. The ribosomes operate within two orders of magnitude of the thermodynamic optimum which makes them about 10 to the fifth times better than all […]

What the Moon has taught us

If something works, it’s obsolete ‒ 2010: Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke The reason for the huge successful NASA perhaps to this day is Jim Webb. He was at NASA only for six or seven years and he shaped it. When he became the first NASA administrator, James Webb collected all NASA managers and said: […]

5 H’s of Leadership

Watch Past International President Mohammed Murad from his 2018 Annual Convention session where he poses the question, is leadership for me? Find out how to answer this as he takes you through his 5 H’s of leadership: Head, Heart, Health, Humility and Happiness.   I have something which is called five H’s of leadership. The […]

Security Architecture for Cyber Physical Systems

Slides I presented at the Automotive Cybersecurity conference at Detroit on Friday. The main message is captured in the last bullet in the Summary: We do not know how to build 100% reliable systems, we only know how to manage risk – your system will fail and you have to build for failure. This was […]

Making Sense of Life

It was found that about 98% of atoms currently in your body will not be there in 1 year. Over the course of 5 years, nearly all atoms will be different. What that means is that physical matter is there only to support the structure of energy. We are really pure energy. Replace bridge with […]

Confucian ethics for Engineers

A very interesting overview of Confucian philosophy and its application for engineers. You can read the paper using one of the following links. Engineers’ Moral Responsibility: A Confucian Perspective by Shan Jing, Neelke Doorn Science and Engineering Ethics – Springer Nature The mechanic, who wishes to do his work well, must first sharpen his tools […]

Malleus Maleficarum: Witchcraft through the Ages

Another interesting book presentation by Mütter Museum. What is described in it was only yesterday. And can we be confident that humans are any better today? Do not humans seek manifestation of demons in others to vilify entire groups of people? How many wars and holocausts based on similar prejudices have humans witnessed in the […]