Tuesday, September 02, 2003


That is the name of my university Systems Design Engineering class. In keeping with my theme of heroes, I had to mention this pantheon I ran with for the last 5 years. Although I felt that I was a mere mortal treading in the realm of gods, I nevertheless was awed by the people I met and the moments I shared with them, and I wouldn't trade a minute of it. While I can't fully elaborate on each and every person who had an impact, I will try my best to acknowledge those nearest and dearest to me.

-Peter: For being my friend through it all, and a guidepost on my journey to being a better person.

-Amy: For being on of the friendliest and brightest people I have ever met, and for being so unconditionally kind to a total stranger.

-Janna: For always being there for everyone, at any time, despite any worries you had.

-Raph: Zen Master, whom helped me to focus, no matter how weird things got.

-Josh: For being the wisest of wise men.

-Salim: A really funny guy who always knew when to throw a good line and be a good friend.

-Trevor: Being able to listen to me rant and laugh despite not knowing what the heck I was talking about was fun, wasn't it?

-Sara: The Globe-hopper, who was an inspiration for me to expand the horizons of my understanding

-Laura: A good advisor, and for always being able to talk openly

-Johnny C. and Meagan: For being two of the nicest, kindest being on God's green earth.

-Winky: never lose that smile, cool?

-Graham T.: For being one of the only people who could ever consistently surprise me.

-Emily: For being a friend despite the fact that you thought I should probably be commited :)

-Ian: The best of Good Samaritans.

Tim, Gord, Greg, Grant, Dave H and Dave C: Hanging with you was always cool, wish we could do it more often.

There are those who now ask: "What is Systems Design?" Well, to be honest, I never could make a good answer. But upon reading a passage from Thomas Homer-Dixon's The Ingenuity Gap, where he describes evolutionary biology and ecology, can be adapted to succintly define Systems Design engineering. I have taken the liberty of doing so as follows:

"Systems is a science of the integration of parts. It builds on the knowledge of specific components, but it is less interested in the properties of the individual parts than in what happens - what emergent properties can be identified- when these parts are combined into a whole system. This is more plurarlistic, more comfortable with and interested in gaps in knowledge, and more accepting of uncertainty and surprise. It is fundamentally interdisciplinary, in that it draws on many fields and many approaches - historical, comparitive, and experimental - to achieve understanding.."

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