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PhD Thesis Defense: Wester C.H. Schoonenberg



4:00pm - 5:00pm ET


For info on how to attend this videoconference, please email

"Engineering Systems: Structure, Behavior, and Optimization with Hetero-functional Graph Theory"


Our modern life has grown to depend on many and nearly ubiquitous large complex engineering systems. Over the past decades, engineering solutions have evolved from singular technical artifacts into engineering systems that deliver multiple services within a societal and economic context. As these engineering systems perform more services, the delivery of such services becomes increasingly interdependent. Examples include electrified transportation systems, the energy-water nexus, and microgrid-enabled production systems. The interdependence of these systems raises timely and poignant questions about resilience and sustainability.

Due to the complexity of these engineering systems, they require a novel way to be measured, managed, and optimized. This thesis therefore concentrates on the advancement of a modeling framework to enable the analysis of engineering systems. Such a modeling framework is required to accommodate both the extreme heterogeneity of engineering systems as well as their quantitative nature to enable study of engineering system structure, dynamic behavior, and optimal control.

This thesis discusses a Hetero-functional Graph Theory as a modeling framework that accommodates both the quantitative nature and heterogeneity of engineering systems. The work aims to root the mathematical concepts of Hetero-functional Graph Theory in the engineering systems and systems engineering literature, it aims to provide a single consistent overview of the theory, it aims to explore new application domains for dynamic models based on Hetero-functional Graph Theory, and it aims to develop a framework to optimize such dynamic models.

Thesis Committee

  • Amro M. Farid, PhD (Chair)
  • Eugene Santos Jr., PhD
  • Geoffrey G. Parker, PhD
  • Olivier L. de Weck, PhD


For more information, contact Daryl Laware at