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Dr. Azad Madni is the founder and CEO of Intelligent Systems Technology, Inc., a high-tech R&D company specializing in model-based systems approaches to addressing scientific and societal problems of national and global significance. He is a tenured full professor of Astronautical Engineering and a holder of the Northrop Grumman Foundation Fred O'Green Chair in Engineering. He is the Executive Director of USC’s flagship Systems Architecting and Engineering Program in the Viterbi School of Engineering. He is also a Professor (by courtesy) in the Rossier School of Education and Keck School of Medicine. He is a faculty affiliate of the USC Keck School’s Ginsberg Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics. He is the Principal Systems Engineering Advisor to The Aerospace Corp. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the AEA/Stanford Executive Institute.
He advanced the field of transdisciplinary systems engineering and wrote an award-winning book on the subject: Transdisciplinary Systems Engineering: Exploiting Convergence in a Hyper-Connected World (foreword by Norm Augustine), Springer 2018. He is the co-author of Tradeoff Decisions in System Design (foreword by John Brooks Slaughter), Springer, 2016. He is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of two Conference on Systems Engineering (CSER) volumes. He is currently co-editing the Handbook of Model Based Systems Engineering with Norm Augustine. The Handbook publisher is Springer (expected Fall 2021). He is the Editor of MDPI Systems special issue on Model Based Systems Engineering. He has 375+ publications comprising journal articles, peer-reviewed conference publications, book chapters, and research reports.
He has advanced complex systems engineering research by exploiting ontology-enabled systems modeling, formal methods, minimum viable modeling techniques, and exploitation of AI and machine learning in Model Based Systems Engineering. He has advanced distributed simulation-based training and education through innovative integration of selective fidelity models, platform-based architectures, and lightweight agent models to realize low-cost simulators and mission rehearsal systems. He has advanced intelligent systems technology by exploiting and applying augmented intelligence concepts in engineering resilient, semi-autonomous and autonomous systems such as self-driving vehicles and multi-UAV swarms. His research in MBSE advanced the field of probabilistic systems modeling and ontology-enabled systems engineering. He co-founded and currently chairs the award-winning IEEE SMC committee on MBSE.
He has served as Principal Investigator on more than 90 R&D projects totaling in excess of $95 million. His research sponsors in the government include DARPA, OSD, DOD-SERC, NSF, NASA-Ames, MDA, AFOSR, AFRL, DHS S&T, DTRA, ONR, NIST, and DOE. His research sponsors in industry include Boeing, General Motors, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, SAIC, and ORINCON.
He has contributed to engineering education through: a) new methods of teaching that exploit pedagogical advances, techniques from the entertainment and cinematic arts such as storytelling and role playing, and technologies such as digital twins from digital engineering to bring system models and designs to life in laboratory classes; b) development of new multidisciplinary curricula for systems architecting and engineering that includes AI techniques such as machine learning and ontology-enabled reasoning in all core courses; and c) development of educational tools that enhance both classroom and online instruction.
Under his leadership, the Systems Architecting and Engineering Program has risen to become a top-rated graduate SE program in the country. He is the founding director of the Ph.D. degree program in Systems Engineering within the Astronautical Engineering Department. In 2016, Boeing honored him during its centennial anniversary with a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Visionary Systems Engineering Leadership Award for his “impact on Boeing, the aerospace industry, and the nation.”