USC Professor’s Simulation Software program Teaches Programs Engineering Matters







Azad M. Madni spent some 40 years engaged on synthetic intelligence and simulation applied sciences that allowed U.S. troopers to securely practice 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 rework engineering schooling. However he hasn’t deserted the world of simulation.

Azad Madni


College of Southern California, in Los Angeles


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 Programs Engineering Schooling (TRASEE) paradigm, by which professors use simulation software program to show matters by means 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, schooling, and industrial affect 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 Basic Electrical’s electron microscope. Ramo served as a presidential chair and professor {of electrical} engineering at USC’s Viterbi Faculty 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 notably 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. area 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 help for his proposal to land a person on the moon earlier than 1970.

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

He moved to america 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 area, he determined to merge his new curiosity together with his ardour for area.

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 area division in Downey, Calif., as a simulation techniques engineer.

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

He developed a model-based evaluation program to just about check the efficiency of the shuttle’s navigation system. He additionally led the creation of a simulation program that analyzed the navigation system’s efficiency beneath completely different high-stress situations. Madni’s model-based method lowered the necessity for intensive hardware-in-the-loop testing and consequently lowered prices, he says.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 1978 in engineering techniques with a focus in pc 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 know-how officer.

“IEEE is the premier engineering society.”

In 1980 he started engaged on a distributed simulation know-how for the U.S. Military. He led a group that was designing a program to coach troopers and permit them to finish follow missions in protected, digital environments. The Protection Superior Analysis Initiatives 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, improve utilization, and permit army personnel to switch the eventualities as wanted. The know-how he and his group developed did simply that.

He later returned to the simulation effort, this time centered on enhancing it with immersive story-telling methods. The venture 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 firms.

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

At present the Military makes use of the 2 techniques, referred to 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 Programs Know-how, an R&D firm in Los Angeles that makes a speciality of modeling and simulation know-how. He served because the startup’s CEO and CTO till 2009, when he joined the USC school 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 Programs Laboratory, which conducts analysis in augmented intelligence, autonomous techniques, cyber-physical-human-systems, and transdisciplinary techniques engineering.

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

three men standing in suits for a portrait against a white background with black writingLife 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 Images

Instructing techniques engineering by means of storytelling

It was at USC that Madni developed TRASEE.

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

Madni says the method helps college students choose up data sooner, acquire management expertise, and study to work with others outdoors their self-discipline and from different cultures.

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

In line with a 2018 examine, college students who study by means of role-playing workout routines rating 45 % greater on checks than these taught by means 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 completely different disciplines

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

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

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

“IEEE is the premier engineering society,” he says. “It goes effectively 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 really perfect discussion board for networking with engineers from completely 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 method of giving again and he enjoys serving to them to “notice and reside their dream as I did.”

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