Quantitative Measures for Managing Aerospace Complexity

Complexity in its capacity to lengthen schedules, expand budgets, and jeopardize safety, finds its worst nightmare when systems thinking takes the reins. On call from former NASA administrator Michael D. Griffin, communication and elegant design rests as prime points upon which to improve aerospace system development. Utilizing quantifiable metrics for personal interaction known as "thinking talents", we can build a bridge to high-reliability-organizations to support larger and more complex goals without the added cost of failure. Communication, and its ability to be modelled mathematically, has just become a new field to enhance the next century of complexity in aerospace engineering.

Our Team

Mary Ma'a

Student Researcher

Aerospace Engineering senior concentrating in Astronautics with a minor in Communications. Bachelor’s degree will be completed in 2021, Master’s in Aerospace Engineering will commence in the Spring at Cal Poly with a graduation date of June 2022.

Dr. Dianne DeTurris

Fearless LEader

 Aerospace Engineering Professor teaching aerothermodynamics and propulsion courses since 1998. Research focus in hypersonic airbreathing propulsion, rocket technology and complexity in engineered systems. Sometimes, she channels Miss Frizzle

Alexi Derkatsch

Student Researcher

Aerospace Engineering student studying B.S. in fourth year, pursuing an astronautics concentration. Minoring in STS Ethics (Science, Technology and Society).


We would like to thank Northrop Grumman for sponsoring our project.   

The inspiration for this project comes from Dr. Michael Griffin, former NASA administrator, as well as Dawna Markova, and Angie McArthur, the authors of “Collaborative Intelligence, Thinking with People Who Think Differently”. 

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