Olivier de Weck
Professor, Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems
Olivier de Weck was born in Switzerland and holds degrees in industrial engineering from ETH Zurich (1993) and aerospace systems engineering from MIT (2001). Before joining MIT he was a liaison engineer and later engineering program manager on the F/A-18 aircraft program at McDonnell Douglas (1993-1997).
Prof. de Weck is a leader in systems engineering research. He focuses on how complex man-made systems such as aircraft, spacecraft, automobiles, printers, and critical infrastructures are designed and how they evolve over time. His main emphasis is on strategic properties that have the potential to maximize lifecycle value (a.k.a the “iIities”). Since 2001 his group has developed novel quantitative methods and tools that explicitly consider manufacturability, flexibility, commonality, and sustainability among other characteristics. Significant results include the Adaptive Weighted Sum (AWS) method for resolving tradeoffs amongst multiple objectives, Time-Expanded Decision Networks (TDN), the Delta-Design Structure Matrix (DDSM) for technology infusion analysis and the SpaceNet and CityNet simulation environment. These methods have impacted complex systems in space exploration (NASA, JPL), oil, and gas exploration (BP) as well as in sophisticated electro-mechanical products (e.g. Xerox, Pratt & Whitney, DARPA). Prof. de Weck’s teaching emphasizes excellence, innovation, and bridging of theory and practice.
He is an associate fellow of AIAA, a fellow of INCOSE, and serves as associate editor for the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets and the Journal of Mechanical Design. He won the 2006 Frank E. Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising, a 2007 AIAA Outstanding Service Award, the 2008 and 2011 best paper awards from the journal Systems Engineering and the 2010 Capers and Marion MacDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising. From 2008-2011 he served as associate head of the Engineering Systems Division at MIT. Since early 2011 he serves as executive director of the new MIT Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) initiative.