Philosphical ERBA?

Well, That's not an Oxymoron if you heard today's lecture presented by special guest, Dr. Joseph Saleh. Prof Saleh returned to MIT Academia after working in McKinsey for two years.
His lecture was titled, 'How much is it worth?'

He began by talking about the ephermal nature of time and the artifacts we create related to time. He began witha slide showing time 'artifacts' from different eras.

One was a sundial with the words, "Tempus fugit velut umbra". Time moves like a shadow.(Pun intended)

The next one was a clock that said "Tempus edax rerum". Time, the devourer of things

The last one was a modern day ad that said, "Time is precious. Use it wisely."
The next section of the class was a review of failure rates and reliability functions. To put it in his own words, Teaching is a process of repetition. He also said that the traditional view of engineers is to overestimate reliability. Engineers look at systems as artifacts to understand and then move on to build them, ignoring the issue of failure of the system. (Reminiscent of Ed 'like-him-hate-him' Crawley. )

Saleh's recent experience is primarily in Aerospace and optimizing redundancy of satellites. Satellites are built for periods of 15 years. Thanks to technological improvements, the infant mortality of satellites has been eliminated.

The reliability curve showed a kink that accounted for the aging death of satellites.

Net value of a system = revenue/unit time - cost/unit time - cost to acquire system.

Reliability comes with a cost. There is a cost elasticity to reliability (Similar to price elasticity of demand.) The NPV of a system is increased with adding redundancy. The rest of the lecture was about striking a balance between cost and the power of redundancy. With the increase in the reliability of transponders one can reduce redundancy and hence decrease costs and optimise the NPV of a satellite system.

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