In this 100th episode of omega tau we talk to Dr. Stephen B. Johnson about system health management, a set of techniques and processes used to improve system dependability. The episode is based on a book Stephen co-edited, and as a consequence of Stephen’s background, we use aerospace examples in this episode. We discuss the fundamental concepts such as functions, states and the state vector, failures and faults. We then discuss the influence of complexity on failures, as well as human involvement. We discuss means to prevent failures such as fault isolation, redundancy and model adjustment. We conclude the three-hour conversation by looking at the future of systems engineering and system health management with a particular focus on formal methods.
In this fourth (and for the time being, last) episode in the series on physics at CERN we look at the LHC from the perspective of the beam producers, and more specifically, from the perspective of the control system for the LHC. To this end, we first talk to Vito Baggiolini, a software engineer in the controls group, and then we talk to Felix Ehm, a technical engineer for the beam control system. In the episode we recap what the LHC does and how it does it (you may want to re-listen to Episode 30 on the LHC), discuss the hardware elements used for beam control, some of the safety and security systems, as well as about the software aspects of the system.