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"The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one."

- Malcolm Forbes -

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"Brilliant yet approachable, a must read for the 21st Century Engineer."


Azad M. Madni is a renowned researcher and educator, successful entrepreneur, acclaimed author, and a long-time philanthropist. He is also a highly sought out mentor. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer in systems engineering and intelligent systems technology. His research is focused on Augmented AI, intelligent cyber-physical-human systems, digital twin-enabled Model Based Systems Engineering, and interactive storytelling in virtual worlds to enhance collaborative engineering and learning. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of IEEE (Life), AAAS, AIAA, INCOSE (Life), IISE, AAIA (Life), SDPS (Life), WAS (Life), IETE (Life), AIMBE and an Honorary Member of ASME. He is also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the Omega Alpha Association, an Honor Society for Systems Engineering. He received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in Engineering from the UCLA. He is a graduate of AEA/Stanford Executive Institute.

He pioneered the field of transdisciplinary systems engineering and wrote an award-winning book on the subject, Transdisciplinary Systems Engineering: Exploiting Convergence in a Hyperconnected World (Springer, 2018). He defined Transdisciplinary Systems Engineering as “a meta-discipline that exploits the convergence of engineering with other disciplines to understand, frame, and explore solutions to complex sociotechnical systems problems that appear intractable when viewed solely through an engineering lens.” In 2023, he received the prestigious IEEE Simon Ramo Medal, for exceptional achievements in systems engineering and systems science (

He is the founder and CEO of Intelligent Systems Technology, Inc. (ISTI), an award-winning hi-tech company specializing in model-based approaches for addressing scientific and societal problems of national and global significance. Under his leadership, the company grew 1588% in the first 5 years garnering numerous awards and honors. He advanced the field of augmented intelligence and human-machine teaming to maximize the joint performance of human-machine teams. He is the Chief Systems Engineering Advisor to The Aerospace Corporation. He has served as a Principal Investigator on 97 R&D contracts and grants totaling more than $100 million in funding from government research agencies such as DARPA, NSF, NASA, DHS, DOE, NIST, DOT, OSD, DTRA, AFOSR, AFRL, and ONR, and aerospace and automotive companies such as Boeing, NGC, Raytheon, GM, and Cruise.

He is a University Professor of Astronautics, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California. The designation of University Professor honors USC’s most accomplished multidisciplinary faculty with significant achievements across multiple technical fields. He is the holder of the Northrop Grumman Fred O’Green Chair in Engineering, and the Executive Director of University of USC’s Systems Architecting and Engineering Program. Under his leadership, USC’s Systems Architecting and Engineering Program has become a top-rated graduate SE program in the world that has graduated 3200+ students. He has transformed engineering education through TRASEE™, the educational paradigm that he created based on his book on Transdisciplinary Systems Engineering. TRASEE combines principles from the learning sciences, storytelling, and new cross-disciplinary instructional content to enhance classroom and online instruction, as well as hands-on learning.

He also holds a joint appointment in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and courtesy appointments in the Rossier School of Education and Keck School of Medicine. He is the Founding Director of the Distributed Autonomy and Intelligent Systems Laboratory and is a faculty affiliate of USC’s Ginsberg Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics in the Keck School of Medicine. He is the founding director of the Ph.D. degree program in Systems Engineering in the Astronautics Department. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute founded by Nobel Laureate, George Olah. He is a member of Advisory Board of the London Digital Twin Research Centre.

Based on the principles in his book on Transdisciplinary Systems Engineering and principles of the learning sciences, he created TRASEE™, an engineering education paradigm that removes the artificial walls that exist in today’s siloed courses in the engineering curricula. For these pioneering achievements, he received the National Academy of Engineering 2023 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education  (, the highest honor in engineering education which comes with a $500k prize. In keeping with his philanthropic bent, he requested the NAE to retain his share of the prize to set up a fund in his name and his wife’s name to pursue advances in transdisciplinary systems engineering (YouTube video from award ceremony Link:  

He has received approximately 100 awards and honors from major science and engineering professional societies. His educational awards include the 2023 NAE Gordon Prize, the AIAA/ASEE Leland Atwood Award for excellence in engineering education and research, the 2019 ASEE/INCOSE Outstanding Systems Engineering Educator Award, and the 2013 IISE Innovation in Curriculum Development Prize. His research awards include the 2023 ASME Honorary Membership, the 2020 IEEE SMC Norbert Wiener Outstanding Research Award, the 2019 IEEE AESS Pioneer Award, and the 2019 NDIA Ferguson Award for Excellence in Systems Engineering, the 2019 Society of Modeling and Simulation Presidential Award, and the 2006 SDPS C.V. Ramamoorthy Distinguished Scholar Award.  His leadership awards and honors include the 2023 ASME CIE Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2019 ASME CIE Leadership Award.  In 2016, Boeing honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Visionary Systems Engineering Leadership Award for his “impact on Boeing, the aerospace industry, and the nation.”

He is the co-author of Tradeoff Decisions in System Design, Springer, 2016. He is the series Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Conference on Systems Engineering (CSER) proceedings. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Handbook of Model Based Systems Engineering with Norm Augustine, Springer 2023, and Deep Learning Networks: Design, Development, and Deployment (Springer, September 2023).  He has 400+ publications comprising three authored books, five edited books, book chapters, journal articles, peer-reviewed conference publications, and research reports. He has given 90+ keynotes and invited talks worldwide.

Previously, as the Executive Vice President for R&D and CTO of Perceptronics, Inc., he advanced the field of virtual reality-enabled distributed simulation-based training and exploitation of augmented intelligence in human-machine teaming. Prior to that, he led modeling and simulation activities for Space Shuttle navigation system performance testing at Rockwell International. Specifically, he developed a model-based approach for testing shuttle navigation system performance that produced significant savings for the program earning him several awards and honors including the prestigious 2021 IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society’s Judith A. Resnik Space Award for excellence in Space Engineering.

He has a long history of philanthropy and has received several awards for his philanthropic activities. In 2021, he received the Benefactor Award from the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) for his decades of philanthropy and mentoring engineering students worldwide. This was only the second time in 31 years that INCOSE made this award. In 2020, he received the IEEE-USA Entrepreneurship Achievement Award for “a lifetime of innovation, mentoring, and philanthropy.” He is a life member of the NAE Marie Curie Donor Society and the NAE Albert Einstein Donor Society.

National Academy of Engineering (NAE)
Lt Gen Thomas R. Ferguson Excellence in Systems Engineering Award


INCOSE Benefactor Award

Azad Madni a leader in astronautical and systems engineering is inducted into NAE “for advances in low-cost simulation-based training using interdisciplinary model-based approaches.”

Azad Madni receives individual recognition for his contributions to the systems engineering discipline and stellar accomplishments in the advancement of cutting-edge systems engineering principles, models, and methods to the Department of Defense’s most pressing systems engineering problems.

Azad Madni receives the Benefactor Award from the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) for his decades of philanthropy and mentoring engineering students worldwide.

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