An Undergraduate Minor in
Information Sciences and Technology
for Aerospace Engineering
This Minor should dramatically help students in finding a job and for
preparing to work in the 21st century.
For more information, read Prof. Long's papers that explain the
need for students to get this Minor:
You can apply for this Minor on lionpath.psu.edu.
This Minor requires the following courses:
For a total of 18 credits. Students will need to get a C or better in all the courses. Some of these courses can also be used as technical electives for the Aerospace Engineering B.S. degree, i.e. you can often use a course both for a Major and a Minor. NOTE: The requirements for this Minor must be completed concurrently or before you receive your major degree. You cannot get this Minor after you receive your B.S. degree.
This minor will be of great benefit to the students who pursue it. Roughly 50% of the cost of developing an aerospace system is in computers, information, communications, and software. If our aerospace engineering graduates learn more about information sciences and technology, they will be more valuable to industry, government, and academia. They will be able to appreciate the entire aerospace system better, and will be better equipped to work side-by-side with experts in the computing and software fields. The Aerospace Engineering curricula was recently modified and streamlined, and one of the reasons for doing that was to make it easier for students to obtain Minors such as this one.
The role of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) in the practice of Aerospace Engineering is (and will remain) very important. Aerospace systems rely heavily on computers, software, and digital information; for control, sensors, and other onboard systems. The Boeing 777 has more than 1000 processors and roughly 20 million lines of software (mostly in Ada) onboard. Some aircraft (e.g. the F-16 and F-117A) cannot fly without their onboard computers. In addition, many future aerospace vehicles will be unmanned, and the software challenges will be even greater than they are today. The onboard memory has also increased exponentially, the F-106 had 20 kBytes of memory and the new Joint Strike Fighter might have 2 GBytes of memory. The hardware and software must be carefully designed and thoroughly tested, since most aerospace systems are mission- or safety-critical systems. In addition, computers and software are heavily used in the design, development, and manufacturing of aerospace systems. Large supercomputers are often used in the design process. Giving undergraduate aerospace engineering students the opportunity to minor in IST will not only enrich their educational achievements but it will also help them succeed in obtaining employment or entering graduate school. The NSF and DOD recently referred to computing and software as the "Achilles heel" of aerospace systems; and they are encouraging universities to enhance their educational programs so that we have well-qualified engineers for future systems.
Also, our Industrial and Professional Advisory Committee (IPAC) members have continually stressed the importance of IT for our students. An executive from a major aerospace company said this about the program:
See also the speech given by Dr. Charles Vest , MIT. He says:
For more information on the IST for Aerospace Engineering (ISASP)
Undergraduate Minor contact :
Professor of Aerospace Engineering, Computational Science, and Mathematics
The Pennsylvania State University
229 Hammond Building
University Park, PA 16802
Email : LNL
Phone : (814) 865-1172
NOTE: A minor in Mathematics would also be very valuable for aerospace engineering students. And since you have to take Math 140, 141, 220, 230, and 250 for the aerospace degree; all you have to do is take four 400-level Math courses for the Minor. Some very useful 400-level Math courses would be: 401, 414, 415, 441, 451, and 455.