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16 October 2014

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Jenkins the System
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Prof Gwilym Meirion Jenkins
1932 - 1982
Pontlliw Primary School Gowerton Grammar School

Jenkins the System

In a nutshell
Statistician Gwilym Meirion Jenkins was a great innovator in systems engineering. This is the study of systems, a study which can improve performance of a company or a school - for example.

Track record
He worked at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough before moving to Imperial College London, later becoming Professor of Systems Engineering at Lancaster University. He set then up his own consulting company involved with government, industrial and business organisation. This gave him a chance to tackle the practical challenges of statistics, applied to real situations:

  • chemical engineering
  • pollution of the river Rhine
  • hospital services
  • bus companies.

The Science
A system is a complex grouping of men and machines.

  • It can be broken down into sub-systems which interact with each other.
  • The system being studied will usually form part of a hierarchy of such systems.
  • To function at all, a system must have an objective.
  • To function efficiently, it must be designed in such a way that it is capable of achieving its overall objective.
A systems engineering approach makes you focus on the broad, important issues, taking in the big picture. You can then tackle the work in the right order of importance in the planning and development of the work in hand. Simple tweaks to devices and techniques can result in big improvements.

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