Visiting Assistant Professor

Dr. Brad Taylor

After a 25-mile train ride north from Fresno up the California San Juaquin Valley for his 5-year birthday party, troupe in costume, Brad answered a reporter about what he wanted to be when he grew up: “A real engineer, not like the kind my Dad is.” Yet, he grew up to become an engineer (Control Systems rather than Civil), learned to fly submarines, rather operating trains; after helping to design water an power plants, now studies the Complex Systems domain of computer science to uncover common underlying patterns and identify more natural and robust automated solutions.

A decade ago, two NASA teams, working on separate modules, missed Mars by a million miles because their assumed basic unit of measure differed: one feet, the other meters. Similarly flummoxed with power plant design shortcomings, first he fixed the specific issues, then was asked to fix the teams. Last month, signing up for a new postal service offering, their scanner wasn’t configured for the 4-year- old state driver’s license bar code, format since updated. Rather than systems designed to work for people, adjusting to expected variation, today’s systems are often brittle, focused on narrow specifications. Dr. Taylor’s teaching and research centers on the application and refinement of appropriate software engineering methods to improve robustness; and the exploration of machine learning methods, integrated with proven principles of trust and knowledge management, to address these issues when interacting with people and other organization’s systems.

Joining the Catholic University of America as a Visiting Professor after a similar position at UDC, Dr. Taylor received his Doctor and Master of Science in Computer Science from GWU, teaching while a student and after graduating; his Bachelor of Science, Control Systems Engineering is from and subsequently taught at USNA. He qualified in Submarines and as a Nuclear Engineer, serving in technical leadership on 4 submarines; riding many more to teach and evaluate performance, observing and tuning performance of myriad systems and people. His control system design experience span critical infrastructure plants, such as electric power, water and wastewater treatment, to cyber security, optical, and laboratory information systems. Active in several professional societies, such as the International Society for Automation, where seminal work prompted an invitation to serve as a charter voting member of the now 500+ member Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security standards committee with representatives from around the world; previously holding a variety of local ISA section leadership positions, including President.