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The BKCASE Project

BKCASE (Body of Knowledge & Curriculum to Advance Systems Engineering - pronounced "Bookcase") is an international effort to develop a systems engineering body of knowledge (SEBOK) and a Graduate Reference Curriculum for Systems Engineering (GRCSE - pronounced “Gracie”).  The BKCASE project currently has approximately 60 authors who are contributing to the effort.  The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense but SEBoK and GRCSE are intended for international, open source use. There is more information about BKCASE at http://www.bkcase.org.

Art Pyster, from Stevens Institute of Technology, and Dave Olwell from the Naval Postgraduate School are the PIs for the project. Art headed the GSWERC project that developed the graduate software engineering curriculum model (GSWE2009 - http://www.gswe2009.org/).  The Computer Society and ACM assumed joint stewardship of GSWE2009 in Fall 2009.

Dick Fairley and Ken Nidiffer are the designated IEEE-CS representatives to the BKCASE project. Dick is a SEBOK Part Lead and author and Ken is a SEBoK and GRCSE author.

Dick Fairley and Ken Nidiffer are also the CS representatives to a joint CS/INCOSE/BKCASE committee that is preparing an agreement by which the CS and INCOSE will become stewards of SEBoK and GRCSE (INCOSE is the International Council on Systems Engineering).

The purpose of the SEBoK is to:

Inform Practice: Inform systems engineers about the boundaries, terminology, and structure of their discipline and point them to useful information needed to practice SE in any application domain

Inform Research: Inform researchers about the limitations and gaps in current SE knowledge that should help guide their research agenda

Define Curricula Foundations: Define a basis for the content that should be common in undergraduate and graduate programs in SE

Provide a Basis for Certifying Professionals: Certify individuals as qualified to practice systems engineering

Decide Competencies: Decide which competencies practicing systems engineers should possess in various roles ranging from apprentice to expert

SEBoK is structured into parts; each part consists of articles, references, and glossary terms. In addition, there is a master glossary and a consolidated list of primary references.  There are seven parts to SEBoK:

Part 1: SEBoK Introduction

Part 2: Systems and Systems Thinking

Part 3: Systems Engineering and Management

Part 4: Applications of Systems Engineering

Part 5: Enabling the Organization to Perform Systems Engineering

Part 6: Related Disciplines: Software Engineering, Project Management, and Specialty Engineering

Part 7: Systems Engineering Implementation Examples

The Graduate Reference Curriculum (GRCSE) is intended to:

Improve existing graduate programs in SE from the viewpoint of universities, students, graduates, employers, and systems customers and users;

Assist the development of new SE centric and domain centric SE programs at masters levels by providing guidelines on curriculum content and advice on how to implement those guidelines;

Support increased enrollment in SE programs by increasing the value of those programs to potential students and employers; and

Assist in understanding the diversity of available SE educational programs and to assist prospective students and employers in gauging the suitability of a particular program for their individual purposes.

The GRCSE Table of Contents is currently as follows:

1.     Introduction

2.     Guidance for the construction of GRCSE

3.     Expected student background when entering a Masters program

4.     Expected objectives when a graduate has 3 to 5 years of experience

5.     Expected outcomes when a student graduates

6.     Curriculum architecture

7.     Core body of knowledge

8.     Assessment

9.     Future management

Several appendices are also included.

Version 0.5 of SEBoK is scheduled to be available for public review on September 15, 2011; version 0.5 of GRCSE is scheduled for public review on December 15, 2011.  Version 1.0 of each is scheduled for release in the last quarter of 2012.


Dick Fairley,
Feb 22, 2012, 8:28 AM