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USC Professor’s Simulation Software program Teaches Methods Engineering Matters Specific Occasions

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Azad M. Madni spent some 40 years engaged on synthetic intelligence and simulation applied sciences that allowed U.S. troopers to securely prepare for fight operations in digital worlds. Now Madni—a professor of astronautics, aerospace, and mechanical engineering on the College of Southern California—is working to remodel engineering training. However he hasn’t deserted the world of simulation.

Azad Madni

Employer

College of Southern California, in Los Angeles

Title

Professor of astronautics, aerospace, and mechanical engineering

Member grade

IEEE Life Fellow

Alma Mater

College of California, Los Angeles

In 2013 the IEEE Life Fellow created the Transdisciplinary Methods Engineering Schooling (TRASEE) paradigm, wherein professors use simulation software program to show subjects by way of storytelling and role-playing methods, permitting college students to use their engineering classes to real-world conditions.

For that and different “pioneering contributions to model-based techniques engineering, training, and industrial impression utilizing interdisciplinary approaches,” Madni acquired this 12 months’s IEEE Simon Ramo Medal.

Ramo was a frontrunner in microwave analysis who headed the event of Normal Electrical’s electron microscope. Ramo served as a presidential chair and professor {of electrical} engineering at USC’s Viterbi College of Engineering from 2008 till he died in 2016.

Madni says the award is “the crowning achievement” of his profession as a techniques engineer. It’s significantly particular to him, he says, as a result of he and Ramo have been colleagues at USC.

From NASA to educating at USC

Madni, who grew up in Mumbai, turned captivated by the U.S. house program after listening to the 1962 “We select to go to the moon” speech delivered by John F. Kennedy at Rice College, in Houston. The president’s speech was designed to bolster public assist for his proposal to land a person on the moon earlier than 1970.

Madni, who knew he needed to grow to be an engineer, determined he needed to be a part of the “house journey,” he says.

He moved to the US to pursue a bachelor’s diploma in engineering on the College of California, Los Angeles. Discovering himself drawn to techniques engineering after taking a UCLA class within the discipline, he determined to merge his new curiosity along with his ardour for house.

After graduating in 1968, Madni joined Parsons Corp. in Los Angeles as a full-time techniques engineer and analyst engaged on protection applications. At night time, he took graduate programs at UCLA, and in 1971 he earned his grasp’s diploma in engineering.

He went on to pursue a Ph.D. whereas additionally working full-time at Rockwell Worldwide’s house division in Downey, Calif., as a simulation techniques engineer.

On the time, the corporate was the prime contractor for NASA’s house shuttle program. Engaged on this system was a dream come true, he says.

He developed a model-based evaluation program to just about take a look at the efficiency of the shuttle’s navigation system. He additionally led the creation of a simulation program that analyzed the navigation system’s efficiency below totally different high-stress circumstances. Madni’s model-based method diminished the necessity for intensive hardware-in-the-loop testing and consequently diminished prices, he says.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 1978 in engineering techniques with a focus in laptop methodology and AI, he joined Perceptronics in Woodland Hills, Calif., as director of synthetic intelligence and software program analysis, finally rising to government vice chairman and chief expertise officer.

“IEEE is the premier engineering society.”

In 1980 he started engaged on a distributed simulation expertise for the U.S. Military. He led a staff that was designing a program to coach troopers and permit them to finish apply missions in secure, digital environments. The Protection Superior Analysis Tasks Company (DARPA) and the Military sponsored the work.

On the time, the coaching simulators used have been costly to construct, underutilized, and rigid.

Madni says he had two objectives for the brand new simulation system: to decrease prices, enhance utilization, and permit army personnel to switch the situations as wanted. The expertise he and his staff developed did simply that.

He later returned to the simulation effort, this time centered on enhancing it with immersive story-telling methods. The challenge was funded by the U.S. Air Drive, Military, Navy, DARPA, and the U.S. Division of Vitality in addition to a number of aerospace and automotive corporations.

Madni modeled the simulations after video video games and flicks, participating a number of senses to create extra immersive experiences for customers.

Immediately the Military makes use of the 2 techniques, known as the “game-based coaching simulations for part-task coaching” and the “VR-enabled distributed simulation system for collective coaching.”

Madni left Perceptronics in 1994 to assist discovered Clever Methods Know-how, an R&D firm in Los Angeles that focuses on modeling and simulation expertise. He served because the startup’s CEO and CTO till 2009, when he joined the USC college as head of the interdisciplinary techniques architecting and engineering grasp’s diploma program. Madni is the founding director of USC’s Distributed Autonomy and Clever Methods Laboratory, which conducts analysis in augmented intelligence, autonomous techniques, cyber-physical-human-systems, and transdisciplinary techniques engineering.

“My father had a ardour for training and instilled that very same ardour in me from a really younger age,” he says. “His dream for me was to sometime be a school member at a prestigious U.S. college. By becoming a member of USC, I’ve fulfilled his dream and have contributed to remodeling engineering training for twenty first century engineering challenges.”

Life Fellow Azad Madni [middle] proudly shows his IEEE Simon Ramo Medal on the IEEE Honors Ceremony. He’s accompanied by IEEE President-Elect Thomas Coughlin [left] and IEEE President Saifur Rahman.Robb Cohen Pictures

Educating techniques engineering by way of storytelling

It was at USC that Madni developed TRASEE.

As a substitute of a typical lecture format, college students begin with a brief situation and a technical downside to unravel. Every member of a gaggle is assigned a task. The groups use a digital twin—a digital mannequin—of a machine related to the story to evaluate how nicely their efforts are succeeding.

Madni says the method helps college students decide up info quicker, achieve management expertise, and be taught to work with others exterior their self-discipline and from different cultures.

“By taking summary engineering ideas and embedding them in tales, I’m capable of talk the concepts to college students way more clearly,” he says.

In accordance with a 2018 research, college students who be taught by way of role-playing workouts rating 45 % larger on checks than these taught by way of conventional lectures.

Madni has been acknowledged by a number of organizations for creating TRASEE. This 12 months he acquired the Nationwide Academy of Engineering’s Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Know-how Schooling. The prize features a US $500,000 award; Madni donated half of the cash to the NAE and half to USC.

Networking with engineers from totally different disciplines

Madni has been an IEEE member for 46 years. Since 1980 he has held a number of management positions and has introduced papers at IEEE conferences worldwide.

In 2013, he cofounded the IEEE Methods, Man, and Cybernetics Society’s technical committee on model-based techniques engineering and serves as its chair. The committee creates instructional assets, and members are concerned in standardization efforts. Members additionally hosted panel periods on the 2023 Worldwide Convention on Methods Engineering Analysis and introduced analysis papers. As chair, Madni has led a number of collaborative efforts with skilled engineering societies together with Worldwide Council on Methods Engineering and the Institute of Industrial and Methods Engineers.

Madni can also be an lively volunteer with the IEEE Aerospace and Digital Methods Society, the IEEE Pc Society, IEEE-USA, and the IEEE Methods Council.

“IEEE is the premier engineering society,” he says. “It goes nicely past electronics and electrical engineering. It encompasses many disciplines together with biomedical engineering, management techniques engineering, cybernetics, techniques engineering, and engineering administration.

“IEEE being multidisciplinary makes it a super discussion board for networking with engineers from totally different disciplines.”

Madni says he enjoys mentoring aspiring engineering college students and younger professionals working in each academia and trade. He says that is his approach of giving again and he enjoys serving to them to “notice and reside their dream as I did.”

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