Ricardo Valerdi, associate professor of systems and industrial engineering at the University of Arizona, is a 2014-2015 Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the United Kingdom’s Royal Academy of Engineering. He is the first researcher from the University of Arizona to receive the fellowship.
“This is a tremendous honor in recognition of Ricardo Valerdi’s expertise and scholarship,” said UA College of Engineering Dean Jeff Goldberg. “We are extremely proud of him.”
Since 2007, the U.K.’s engineering academy has provided funding to engineering departments at British universities for hosting international experts, to strengthen engineering education and capability and promote international research collaborations. Between 50 and 60 researchers around the world receive the honor each year.
Valerdi’s Distinguished Visiting Fellowship is being hosted by Linda Newnes, who heads the cost estimation program in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Bath. She has collaborated on several projects with Valerdi and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Cost Analysis and Parametrics, of which Valerdi is editor-in-chief.
Valerdi spent a week in Bath in November 2014 and will revisit the campus in spring 2015 as part of his fellowship.
During his trip Valerdi discussed his theories and research at a costing workshop for engineers and others from the British defense ministry; military and civil manufacturing and other service suppliers, including Rolls-Royce Submarines, British Aerospace and BAE Systems; and the National Grid gas and electricity company.
Valerdi shared his findings on how the inherent tendency toward optimism often leads engineers to underestimate cost when making projections, and suggested how attendees could use this knowledge to make their operations more cost-efficient.
“It is so important for our defence and other industries to be able to leverage the research that Ricardo is doing for the United States,” Newnes said. “This workshop was an extraordinary learning opportunity for our industry partners and for him.”
Valerdi met with faculty on Bath’s costing team to assess the systems-based approach to cost estimation they are developing for the British military and National Grid. He also trained 50 undergraduate mechanical engineering students in the Constructive Systems Engineering Cost Model, or COSYSMO, a widely used software tool that he developed for estimating systems engineering efforts.
“Our students thoroughly enjoyed having the person who created the tool show them how it works and what to consider when creating a cost model,” Newnes said.
“I relished the opportunity to share my theories and expertise on cost estimation with leaders in the British military, academia and industry,” Valerdi said. “I also got to learn how European companies are conducting cost estimation and bring back what I’ve learned to students in my cost estimation class at the UA. It really gives my students more of an international perspective.”
Ricardo Valerdi received his bachelor’s degree from the University of San Diego in 1999 and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern California in 2002 and 2005, respectively. He joined the UA faculty in 2011 after working as a research associate in the Engineering Systems Division at MIT.
A Rising Star in Systems Engineering
The Royal Academy of Engineering Distinguished Visiting Fellowship is one of many visiting appointments for Valerdi.
He is also a visiting associate in the Center for Systems and Software Engineering at USC, a visiting fellow at the Defence and Systems Institute at the University of South Australia, and a visiting scientist at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.
The recipient of many awards for his journal articles and conference papers, Valerdi has served on the board of directors of the International Council on Systems Engineering and is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Top picture: University of Bath Claverton Down campus (photo CC BY-SA 3.0)