Complex Sociotechnical Systems:
The Case for a New Field of Study
Interim Director, MIT Engineering Systems Division
JR East Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Systems
About Professor Joseph Sussman
Dr. Joseph M. Sussman is the JR East Professor (endowed by the East Japan Railway Company) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Engineering Systems Division at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he has served as a faculty member for 40 years. He is the author of Introduction to Transportation Systems, a graduate text published in 2000, in use at a number of universities in the U.S. and abroad. It has been translated into Greek, Chinese and Spanish. His book Perspectives on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) was published in 2005. Sussman received the Roy W. Crum Distinguished Service Award from TRB, its highest honor, “for significant contributions to research” in 2001, and the CUTC Award for Distinguished Contribution to University Transportation Education and Research from the Council of University Transportation Centers in 2003. In 2002 ITS Massachusetts named its annual “Joseph M. Sussman Leadership Award” in his honor. He became a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007. The Engineering School Alumni of the City College of New York (CCNY) gave him its 2008 Career Achievement Award.
He initiated the transportation systems focus area for the MIT Portugal Program, a major $40 million, five-year program of education and research that was launched in 2006. His work here includes participation in the development of a new international MSc degree in transportation systems in collaboration with three Portuguese universities, and research in Regional Strategic Transportation Planning (RSTP), Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and High-Speed Rail.
Dr. Sussman specializes in the study of “Complex, Large-Scale, Interconnected, Open, Sociotechnical” (CLIOS) Systems, working in many applications areas, and has developed the CLIOS Process to study such systems. He has focused recently on developing a new methodology for regional strategic transportation planning (RSTP) as a special case of the CLIOS Process, integrating ideas from strategic management, scenario-building, and technology architectures, and applying it to cases in the U.S. and abroad. Currently his work in this area deals with transportation, technology and sustainability in Mexico City and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and most recently in Portugal. (More details on Professor's Sussman's ESD faculty page.)
About the Series:
This lecture series is named for Charles L. Miller, who
joined the Civil Engineering faculty in 1955, and served
as head of the department from 1962-1969. Miller conceived
a problem-oriented computer language to support surveying
and highway design (COGO – Coordinate Geometry). He
generalized this new tool into ICES (Integrated Civil Engineering
Systems) with applications in structural engineering, highway
design, project management and many other fields. Remarkably,
this software concept, developed in the 1960s, is still
in active use around the world and has been a success as
a change agent for both the academic field of civil and
environmental engineering and its commercial applications.
Miller’s tenure as department head in
CEE is notable for the renewal of that department through
strategic faculty appointments, expanded research funding
and a host of new ideas. In addition to ICES, Miller founded
the Civil Engineering Systems Lab (CESL) which, in many
ways, was a precursor to the Engineering Systems Division.