"Visions for Engineering Education"
Dr. Joseph Bordogna
Chief Operating Officer
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
IEEE Interdisciplinary Conference
EE&CE Education in the Third Millennium
September 11, 2000
We are gathered here to discuss what EE&CE Education
will be like in the Third Millennium. That's a real
challenge because it's difficult to predict what engineering
will be like twenty years from now, let alone fifty
or one hundred years. Let's start by referring to
two papers from the proceedings of the IEEE, spaced
almost four decades apart.
In 1962 Maurice Ponte, an IEEE (then IRE) Fellow, published
a paper entitled "A Day in the Life of a Student
in the Year 2012 AD." In his paper, considered
rather farsighted at the time, Ponte predicted that
miniature algebraical computers would replace slide
rules, and that students would receive satellite transmission
of engineering courses from "virtual universities."
He also predicted that university cafeterias would
serve perfectly balanced, nutritious - but tasteless
food. And - get this - he foretold that university
laboratories would have "perfect equipment." You see
" society had finally been realized that the most
productive investment was that applied to the teaching
of the young." Oh - if it were only so!
Thirty-seven years later, just this past year, Ponte's
paper was followed up with another predictive paper
by Lee & Messerschmitt, entitled "A Highest Education
in the Year 2049." Here the vision is striking,
with predictions of "cyber" universities and artificial
universes, enabled by high-definition three-dimensional
telepresence. This paper also envisions global
education villages that are not just about interdependence
but "mutual provenance". It discusses software as
the new "literature" and universities offering courses
in "network ontology" and "software linguistics."
What is the reality here? In envisioning what may be,
perhaps we can turn to Peter Drucker for some wisdom.
In an interview three years ago with Forbes magazine,
Peter Drucker was asked about his reputation as a
futurist and forecaster. He quickly corrected his
questioner: "I never predict. I just look out the
window and see what's visible -- but not yet seen."
His point was that, in trying to imagine the world
of the future, we need to look around us as well as
look directly ahead. We need to learn to read patterns
and trends from the larger context to envision the
Understanding the larger context in which we work -
the sector, the society, and even the time in history
- gives us a path for imagining the future. This is
a subtle skill students must be helped to develop
in a world now impacted by fast-paced innovation.
The change engendered by fast-paced innovation alters
our familiar landscapes forever. Eventually, it reshapes
our expectations in harmony with the future that it
has created. And yes, it lays down a new set of rules.
Let me illustrate what I mean with an example.
Recently Danny Hillis, computer philosopher and designer,
who pioneered the concept of parallel computing, and
in 1996 became the vice president of research and
development at The Walt Disney Company, related this
incident from his past.
"I went to my first computer conference at the New
York Hilton about 20 years ago. When somebody there
predicted the market for microprocessors would eventually
be in the millions, someone else said, 'Where are
they all going to go? It's not like you need a computer
in every doorknob!"
Years later, Hillis went back to the same hotel. He
noticed that the room keys had been replaced by electronic
cards that you slide into slots in the doors. There
was indeed, "a computer in every doorknob," as well
as sensors and actuators - and other hardware to make
the computer's software sing. Danny Hillis may have
seen that future for microprocessors, but right there
in the midst of a computer conference two decades
ago that insight was in short supply.
Part of the explanation for very smart people making,
what in hindsight, are not very insightful comments,
is that, even as prognosticators, we tend to think
of what is in front of us but not what is also around
Today, we see that technological innovation is occurring
at a breathtaking pace. Industrial cycles appear to
be getting shorter and shorter. And as information
increasingly becomes the currency of everyday life,
we watch this whole pattern accelerate.
In a recent speech, U.S. Joint Economic Council Chief,
Alan Greenspan, said the "phenomenal performance of
the U.S. economy, with its strong growth, low inflation,
low unemployment, and high business profits, is due
in large part to technological innovations that have
caused productivity growth to accelerate". Recent
studies indicate that new technology was responsible
for a whopping 64% of U.S. productivity gains made
during the past five years.
We see evidence of this all around us. The microelectronics
industry alone accounts for millions of jobs around
the globe. Information technology has literally transformed
all sectors of life, leisure, and the economy. The
most talented and highly skilled workers in every
country comprise the modern phenomenon of a global
and mobile workforce. They can easily gravitate to
where the best jobs are located. But information technologies
have also made it possible for them to stay home and
yet work abroad.
We can all take pride in the fact that electrical,
electronic, and computer engineers have greatly aided
this phenomenal economic and social transformation.
But we can't simply rest on our laurels. A recent Economist
article on Innovation speculates that our current
industrial cycle - the one powered by digital networks,
software and new media - has already run two-thirds
of its course, with only another five or six years
left to go!
What will drive the economy during the remainder of
the 21st century? I will discuss some possibilities
with you shortly but first let's take a closer look
at this process we call "innovation".
Management guru Peter Drucker notes that the source
of wealth is knowledge, a human activity that yields
wealth in two essential ways: productivity and innovation.
He points out that knowledge applied to tasks we already
know how to do is productivity, while knowledge applied
to new and different enterprises and delivering new
products and services is innovation.
Now let's take a brief look at the components of innovation
and how they work together.
As the figure illustrates, the process of innovation
depends upon a mutual, synergistic set of interactions
that include not only science, engineering and technology,
but social, political and economic interactions as
The key components of innovation are (1) the creation
of new knowledge, and access to it; (2) a technologically-literate
workforce prepared to capitalize on new knowledge
and (3) an infrastructure that enables innovation
The U.S. National Science Foundation's just completed
five-year strategic plan uses this concept as a conceptual
framework. NSF's vision is clear and simple: "Enabling
the nation's future through discovery, learning, and
innovation." By design, this vision captures the
dynamism that has shaped NSF. It's no accident that
terms like discovery, learning, and innovation are
all resting side-by-side in the same set of words.
These concepts must be integrated in thought and action.
To move toward the realization of this vision, NSF
has three strategic goals.
They are summed up by three key words: People, Ideas,
and Tools. You can see that these three goals encompass
the essential elements of innovation.
NSF is all about science and engineering.
They are quite different processes. Science is the
process of discovering and creating knowledge. Engineers
share in this process, but they are also responsible
for applying new knowledge to create what has never
been: the innovative integration of ideas, devices,
and systems to implement change.
Imagining is at the very heart of innovation. As we
learn to read that larger context which I have been
discussing, imagination allows us to envision and
project a new future. As Albert Einstein often said,
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
There is another important aspect of "innovation,"
which I will call, for want of a better name, "breaking
In 1999 the Economist magazine did a study of innovation
in industry. A sidebar to the text read, "Innovators
break all the rules, trust them." In this sense, innovation
is the task of breaking the economic rules and being
rewarded, over and over again.
The "rule-breaking" theory of economics was actually
developed in 1942 by the Austrian economist Joseph
Schumpter. He described the hallmark of technological
innovation as "the perennial gale of creative destruction,"
or in today's holistic thinking, "the great lever
of creative transformation."
According to Schumpeter, a normal healthy economy was
not one in equilibrium, but one that was constantly
being disrupted and transformed by technological innovation.
History is replete with examples. Transistor technology
disrupted the vacuum-tube industry, the CD killed
the needle in the groove, and the Internet is challenging
the traditional retail and broadcasting industries.
As would be expected, such disruption causes painful
losses in the process of making stupendous gains.
In fact, the disruption caused by an innovation can
bring down a whole industry, while simultaneously
creating new opportunities for growth.
An amusing example of this process concerns how the
invention of the light bulb led to Ivory soap. In
the later part of the 19th century, Procter
and Gamble's best seller was candles. But the company
was in trouble. In 1882 Thomas Edison had invented
the light bulb. The market for candles plummeted since
they were now sold only for special occasions. The
outlook appeared to be bleak for Procter and Gamble.
But then a forgetful employee at a small factory in
Cincinnati forgot to turn off his candle machine when
he went to lunch. The result? A frothing mass of lather
filled with air bubbles. He almost threw the stuff
away but instead decided to make it into soap. The
soap floated. Thus, Ivory soap was born and became
the mainstay of the Procter and Gamble Company.
Why was soap that floats such a hot item at that time?
In Cincinnati, during that period, people bathed in
the Ohio River. Floating soap would never sink and
consequently never got lost. So, Ivory soap became
a best seller in Ohio and eventually across the United
It is useful to remind ourselves that in every era,
new enabling technologies quickly influence our methods
of commerce, of manufacturing, of service, and even
the very social order of our society.
Students can learn the process of innovation, risk
taking, and rule breaking from models taken from our
collective experience and long before they are sent
out into the world. Not everyone will or can think
this way, and the world might be too chaotic and disruptive
if they could. But we can teach and reward a path
of thinking where constant filtering and extrapolation
bring patterns, trends, and shifts to the forefront.
We'll never build wisdom and insight until we can
reach that educational threshold.
Now I want to get back to a discussion of what kind
of education a 21st century engineer needs.
To set a base for this discussion, let's first examine
the new capabilities that are shaping the future of
Because science and technology are transforming forces,
it will be the emerging fields, the unpredicted territories
that will change and expand our capabilities as engineers
Here - on this chart- are five capabilities - starting
points, as I like to refer to them. Reasonable people
can argue about whether or not these are the right
ones- but they seem appropriate for this discussion.
Terascale - This new capability takes us three
orders of magnitude beyond present general purpose
and generally accessible computing capabilities.
In the past, our system architectures could handle
hundreds of processors. Now, we are working with systems
of 10,000 processors. In a very short time, we'll
be connecting millions of systems and billions of
'information appliances' to the Internet. Crossing
that boundary of 10^12th - one trillion
operations per second - will launch us to new frontiers.
For example, the Protein Folding Problem, the
Holy Grail of computational biology, has withstood
countless attacks, undertaken by many bright minds
and augmented by years of scientific supercomputer
On current systems, the simulation of one millisecond
of protein folding (the longest undertaken to date)
required two months. In the real world, typical protein
folding times are twenty milliseconds. That means
we're looking at some 40 months of processor time
on current systems to run a full-scale simulation.
With new terascale systems, we may be able to reduce
this time one thousand fold. That means one day instead
of three plus years.
NSF is currently investing in a new terascale computing
system for use by academic researchers.
We have also been examining ways to enhance our investment
in nanoscale science and engineering. This
will take us three orders of magnitude smaller than
most of today's human-made devices.
To appreciate what this is all about we need to step
back for a moment. One nanometer (one billionth of
a meter) is a magical point on the dimensional scale.
Nanotechnology is the ability to manipulate matter
one atom or molecule at a time. This technology could
lead to amazing breakthroughs, for example, molecular
computers that can store the equivalent of the U.S.
Library of Congress in a device about the size of
a sugar cube.
Nanostructures are at the confluence of the smallest
of human-made devices and the large molecules of living
systems. Individual atoms are around a few angstroms
in diameter -- a few tenths of a nanometer. DNA molecules
are about 2.5 nanometers wide. Biological cells, like
red blood cells, have diameters in the range of thousands
of nanometers. Microelectromechanical systems are
now approaching this same scale. This means we are
now at the point of connecting machines to individual
Next, let's turn to complexity. Mitch Waldrop
writes in his book, Complexity, about a point
we often refer to as "the edge of chaos." That is
"where the components of a system never quite lock
into place, and yet never quite dissolve into turbulence,
either...The edge of chaos is where new ideas and
innovative genotypes are forever nibbling away at
the edges of the status quo..."
If we look at science and engineering, we discern this
zone of transformation at many scales, in many disciplines,
and in the most unexpected places. For example, researchers
are trying to put polymers together with silicon--a
marriage of opposites because plastics are chaotic
chains while silicon is composed of orderly crystals.
The result can give us electronic devices with marvelous
flexibility, which can be made less expensively and,
as a result, empower more people. Again, it comes
down to managing order and disorder, all at once.
Perhaps there ought to be a term for it - how about
The fourth capability on this list is Cognition
- which the dictionary defines as: "the mental
process or facility by which knowledge is acquired."
Because of new knowledge, methods and tools, I believe
that we are on the verge of a cognitive revolution
that may dwarf the information revolution. We are
poised for many exciting new discoveries in this area.
These breakthroughs will lay the foundation for progress
in many areas of national importance, from teaching
children how to read, to understanding learning processes;
from building human-like computers and robots to designing
networks and systems capable of cognition.
The last capability listed on this chart is Holism.
The dictionary defines this term as: "the concept
that an entity is greater than the merely the sum
of its parts." It refers to new capabilities in
how to put things together - how to integrate seemingly
disparate things - into a greater whole. This includes
social as well as physical and engineering systems.
In 1944, the 20th century philosopher, José Ortega
y Gasset, wrote in his Mission of the University:
"The need to create sound syntheses and systemizations
of knowledge will call out a kind of scientific genius
which hitherto has existed only as an aberration:
the genius for integration. Of necessity this means
specialization, as all creative effort does, but this
time the (person) will be specializing in the construction
of the whole."
I believe the hallmark of the modern engineer is the
ability to make connections among seemingly disparate
components, and to integrate them in ways that are
greater than the sum of their respective parts.
This new capability in "holism" has been enabled by
advances in complexity, advanced mathematics, information
technology, design theory, philosophy, and even art.
Why speak of art at an engineering conference?
Because art and artists, by their very definition,
breach barriers, define new perspectives, and create
something greater than the sum of the parts. I believe
that engineering students should be given greater
opportunities to learn the path of creativity taken
by artists, musicians, dancers, photographers, and
architects. And, who knows? Perhaps artists can learn
something from engineering.
Whether we are artists or engineers, we all need to
nurture the creative zones at the borders of our disciplines
and fields- to be able to make connections among specialized
areas of knowledge, to understand how seemingly disparate
discoveries relate, and to integrate them into a broader
context that will lead to deeper insights and more
Together, advances in these areas - tera, nano,
complexity, cognition, and holism -will lay out
the capacity for an integrated design field that is
far beyond what is imaginable with today's technology.
What does this portend for engineering? Will engineers
build increasingly smarter machines that human's can
easily relate to and command? Or will the human organism
begin to merge with its own machines - cyborgs and
bionic parts. Progress is rapidly being made on this
front- we now have artificial hearts, artificial limbs,
and we are nearing artificial eyes. Whatever the case,
engineering will increasingly become a biological
and cognitive, as well as a physical, science.
Interestingly enough, it may be "analog" rather than
"digital" electronics that enables this future. This
chart shows the first page of an article in the February
2000 edition of Smithsonian Magazine.
The article describes the work of researcher Mark Tilden.
At his laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, he creates
robots that are purely analog devices, built
from a handful of off-the-shelf nuts-and-bolts components
- resistors, capacitors, transistors - but wired together
in complex patterns that make them remarkable. His
robots can walk, crawl or tumble around in complex
environments, solve problems and survive any number
of conditions that their designer never taught them
For example, the robots learn successful movements
by analyzing how the loads or stresses on their legs
disturb the analog wave patterns in its circuitry.
This leads the robots to move in ways that conserve
energy. This is a real innovation: it disrupts today's
panacea that digital cures all.
This brings us to our social responsibility as engineers.
As we value innovation and exploit it as the fuel
of progress, we have a responsibility to tread carefully
- to explore the implications of what we do.
The French Poet, Jacques Darras, once said: "No
longer must we thirst for novelty at any cost, but
rather begin to develop a new sense of our own duration
and of how to deal with it."
Carl Sagan, writing in 1994, also cautioned us in this
same vein. He said, "This is the first moment in
the history of our planet when any species, by its
own voluntary actions, has become a danger to itself-
as well as a vast number of others."
Bill Joy, cofounder and chief scientist of Sun Microsystems
- in his April 2000 article in "Wired" magazine
entitled "Why the future doesn't need us" (see
www.wired.com) postulates: "Our most powerful 21st-century
technologies - robotics, genetic engineering and nanotech
- are threatening to make humans an endangered species."
In the article, Joy speculates that in the future-
unlimited information may be available to everyone
via the Internet and that many disciplines, such as
biology, for example, will become "informational sciences."
He observes that it is entirely possible that individuals
may use the collective information of the world to
do evil - for example, terrorists using genomic databases
to design and unleash lethal viruses upon unsuspecting
Is this just a fanciful nightmare? Well, we have already
experienced what a lone individual can do with a computer
virus - the "love bug" shut down many computer systems
around the world and cost us billions of dollars.
But how do we prevent such things from happening? The
answers may lie as much in advances in the social
sciences as in the development of new technology.
As engineers, we must take equal stock of the social
limits--or perhaps the social effects--of our technologies.
The social sciences and the technologies themselves
provide us an essential means to make that assessment.
That is why I believe every engineering student needs
some exposure to the social sciences.
Today we have the potential to integrate our individual
wisdom. By incorporating the perspective of the social
sciences we can proceed more intelligently and ethically
to achieve the best of many possible futures.
After all of this discussion about technological change,
innovation, and new capabilities, it's time to ask
- What kind of engineer do we need in 21st
This chart suggests some of the core capabilities of
the 21st century engineer. From this list,
one gets the sense that, to be personally successful,
21st century engineers will need more than
first-rate technical and scientific skills. In the
global workplace, engineers need to make the right
decisions about how enormous amounts of time, money,
and people are tasked to a common end.
These next two charts are thoughts on what might be
the credentials or skill set for next generation engineers.
Next Generation engineers will have a number of iterations
in their career paths over their working lifetimes
and must gain the intellectual skills needed for lifelong
learning. Expertise in a single discipline or technology
may no longer be the Holy Grail for a rewarding engineering
career. The modern engineer needs to be educated to
thrive through change, else the engineer will become
a commodity on the global market instead of the market's
enabler of wealth creation.
So, what are the fresh career paths for engineers?
As this chart shows, no longer do career paths layer
directly on traditional disciplines.
Rather, next-generation engineering career paths embrace
complex systems issues. Examples include avoiding
environmental harm, efficient use of energy and materials,
micro/nano systems simultaneously small in size and
large in capacity, smart systems that learn from their
environment and adjust or even repair themselves,
and creative enterprise transformation generally.
Now we get down to the really tough question: What
kind of education will the 21st century
Or, to put it another way: How do we educate our
students to understand that creation of knowledge
and its integration go hand-in hand as a framework
for organized cultural, intellectual, political, and
This chart suggests what should be the components of
a holistic baccalaureate education. I like to think
of them this way: the skills on the left help the
student develop in-depth or "vertical depth" literacy,
needed for analysis, research and problem solving.
Those in the right-hand column develop integrative
skills or "lateral depth" literacy.
As expressed by DeBono, "vertical thinking digs the
same hole deeper; lateral thinking is concerned with
digging a hole in another place." For an integrative
task, lateral depth is concerned not only with investigating
a number of holes in depth but also developing the
connections among them. Both are needed in tackling
The engineering education program toward this end will
not accrue simply through incremental adjustments
in course content or rearrangement of traditional
isolated segments but, rather, by broad structural
and cultural changes.
This context suggests that emphasis in engineering
education programs should shift from dedication to
course content to a more comprehensive view, focusing
on the development of human resources and the broader
educational experience in which the individual curricular
parts are connected and integrated, that is:
- Place primary emphasis on the development of students
as emerging professionals with the knowledge base
and capability for life-long learning;
- Engage students in engineering from the day they
matriculate and make the study of engineering
more attractive, exciting and fulfilling throughout
I believe an engineering student must experience the
functional core of engineering, the excitement of
facing an open-ended challenge and creating something
that has never been. This experience should be woven
throughout the fabric of the entire curriculum. Participating
in the entire concurrent process of realizing a new
product through integration of seemingly disparate
skills is an educational imperative.
In summary, the focus for undergraduate engineering
education should be the development of students as
emerging professionals rather than completely trained
engineers. The undergraduate engineering program should
be designed…to provide the knowledge base and intellectual
capability for career-long learning.
Next, I would like to discuss some specific issues
that are especially critical to the future of engineering
We live in a time of vast, and even uncontrollable,
information. "Information overload" is a term
the public is only too aware of. Engineers are especially
vulnerable because they have to correlate and make
sense of vast amounts of disparate data. But how do
we impart this increasingly necessary skill to our
From the Paleolithic paintings on a cave wall in Lascaux,
France created in 12,600 BC, to the Summarian development
of a system of writing in 3,500 BC, to high-speed
information networks, to the new horizon of terascale
computing, we have built today's world on accumulated
knowledge and ideas. Human history has been a cumulative
information age and quest. An appropriate question
to ask now is -where are we on that continuum and
what, if anything, is different?
Some suggest the difference is that we are literally
drowning in information but we are increasingly ignoring
the need to develop insight and foresight from it.
To reduce that to sound-byte parlance, we have a case
of too many information generators and too few information
clairvoyants. We need to focus more on knowledge.
Sixty-six years ago, in 1934, the poet T.S. Eliot wrote
in "The Rock",
Where is the life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
What would Eliot say if he could see us now? More importantly,
he seems to have laid down a hierarchy that should
make us question where we are today.
In Eliot's scale, information is the lowest rung of
the ladder, knowledge next, wisdom beyond that, and
finally the meaning of life. To that scale, I would
add the modern day concepts of data and bits.
Raw data have little value and information itself does
not have much inherent value. Its value lies in how
we use it to predict, prepare, progress, and to propel
us into uncharted thinking. We must ask if there is
a growing chasm between more and more information
and our ability to find in it the patterns and trends
that bring us to insight and foresight? Does all of
our information merely delude us as a society into
thinking that information volume automatically translates
If, in the education of our engineers, we are turning
out bumper crops of information generators without
the skills to sift and extract signs, shifts, trends,
and patterns buried in this information tidal wave,
we are falling far short of our task. We need to pay
more attention to teaching the steps beyond information
-- the steps that move us from information to understanding.
Higher engineering education should no more be limited
to the unique transfer, around the age of 22, of a
box of fixed knowledge, which can be used during an
entire career. Again, we should place primary emphasis
on the development of students as emerging professionals
with the knowledge base and capability for life-long
We know that progress in 21st century science
and engineering will depend upon access to world-class
tools and infrastructure. We know first that there
are different kinds of infrastructure.
Facilities and equipment, and the like make up physical
infrastructures. There are human infrastructures.
In our S&T system, the scientists, engineers, teachers,
mentors and technicians comprise this most critical
We know from past experience that infrastructure can
either expand or inhibit our potential. An infrastructure
system can provide potential in one era, but drag
us into obsolescence in another era. So, in a sense,
infrastructure can be thought of as "perishable."
The newest infrastructure territory is cyber infrastructure
and it is fast becoming an overarching and imprinting
influence on the conduct of everything from science
and engineering to songwriting and shopping.
This chart contrasts the "traditional physical infrastructure"
and what we might refer to as the "new cyber infrastructure."
The former includes facilities and major instrumentation
and research platforms, such as telescopes, research
aircraft and ships, fabrication laboratories, and
atomic particle detectors and accelerators. The new
infrastructure includes items such as databases, digital
libraries, and network capabilities.
Now that the S&T information system has evolved through
the Internet and high-speed networks, we need to think
about and plan a future cyber infrastructure that
is oriented to 21st century engineering
education needs and goals. We should think in terms
of an infrastructure that can be envisioned from whole
cloth, designed for some specific long-term goals,
and remain flexible to the unpredictable. It would
be an infrastructure of anticipation. This
will require thinking beyond the here and now, an
infrastructure for the far future.
There is an old Korean proverb: Baek Jit Jang Do Mat
Tul Myun Gah Byup Dah, which translates to English
as: "Even a sheet of paper seems lighter when two
people lift it together."
This proverb is about helping one another and working
together. Even if the work may be easy and simple,
as lifting a piece of paper, if you have someone to
help, it would be much easier.
Partnerships are becoming increasingly important because
discovery, learning, and innovation can only rarely
get on without them. They bring to the table participants
with different expertise and resources, and a diversity
of perspectives, the latter being critical to resolving
complex, open-ended dilemmas.
Many of the problems that we face today, such as preserving
the natural environment, understanding the vectors
of disease, and bridging the growing information and
education gaps between rich and poor nations, are
global problems that demand cooperation among our
nations. I would add engineering education
to this list. We need to work together to do the following:
In this modern era, new computer-communications are
transforming the very nature of partnerships, enabling
them to permute, reshape, and regenerate to stay fresh
and responsive to the demands of new knowledge and
Virtual companies now exist, where the engineering,
production, finance, marketing and other functions
are linked together by global networks. Institutions
of learning are rapidly moving to this mode, with
concepts such as "virtual universities" and "global
Internationally - we need to work together to create
flexible processes for dialogue that expand our mutual
understanding of each other's interests and generate
creative ideas for new modes of international cooperation.
I put this chart up briefly because it represents some
cumulative wisdom gained from our collective experiences
with partnerships during the past thirty years.
In summary, I would like to leave you with a short
list of what I consider to be the grand challenges
for engineering education.
If we do these few things well, I believe that we will
produce first rate engineers for the 21st
century, and that great benefits will accrue to our
In closing, I would like to offer you a quote that
has very special meaning to me. It is from the poet
and philosopher, George Santayana (1863-1952), who
To me this quote evokes some wonderful imagery. You
and I cannot see very far into the future. It is indeed
unknown to us, yet we suspect that it is likely to
be quite different from the present.
For we - electrical, electronic and computer engineers
- to prosper in this eclectic and uncertain milieu,
we must become increasingly astute in making connections,
establishing partnerships- and integrating the parts
of the innovation process for the common good.
With the help of Santayana's torch of smoking pine,
we can take that vital step into the path - into our
future. But remember- we must thrust the torch forward
into the path so we can see - just carrying it over
a shoulder won't do.