Toward the Model-Based Digital Thread: The Past, Present, and Future of Design Methods for Complex Systems



Paul Eremenko is an aerospace and tech executive who has spent much of his career working to improve the way in which we design, verify, and produce complex cyber-physical systems. He was the Chief Technology Officer at Airbus and at United Technologies, where he embarked both companies on ambitious transformation projects aimed at implementing end-to-end model-based design, manufacturing, and services. Paul was also an engineering executive at Google and Motorola, where he conceived and led the development of Project Ara, an open modular smartphone hardware platform and associated design tools. Prior to that, Paul headed DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, responsible for the agency’s X-planes, space, and robotics efforts. He started at DARPA as a program manager and built the Adaptive Vehicle Make initiative, comprising the META design tools program, the iFAB digital manufacturing program, and a concerted push to demonstrate end-to-end model-based design and manufacturing for a large-scale military vehicle. Paul holds undergraduate and Master's degrees in aeronautics from MIT and Caltech, respectively, and a JD from Georgetown University.


In this talk we will trace the evolution of design methods throughout human history, culminating in modern systems engineering. We will discuss the challenges and limitations of this approach for increasingly complex cyber-physical systems. And we will explore various approaches to managing this complexity, including system architectures, abstraction, and design automation, as well as key technological enablers such as modeling and model integration. The talk will conclude with a vision for the future of cyber-physical systems design, including implications for engineering organizations.