1660601329436 Readerfeedback6

Help align process engineering education and industry

Jan. 2, 2020
Reader feedback: December 2019

Most ChE, EE, and ME undergraduate engineering programs have one control course, but there is a gap between what industry wants and what academe usually teaches. The International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) is conducting a survey about what should be taught in a control course. (ISA, AIChE, ASME, and IEEE are members of IFAC through their participation in the American Automatic Control Council.)

Survey data will help academe structure the control course to help narrow the gap. So far, we have 354 responses but only 46 are from industry! We need a much greater participation rate from industry to support meaningful and credible results.

This is an invitation for readers to provide input. Participate in the IFAC Control Education Survey, and encourage your colleagues to also contribute to the survey. The survey will close in early spring, but don‘t wait until then. The complete survey may take 10-15 minutes. Results will be publicly available, and will be used to enhance control education worldwide.

I am a member of the IFAC committee, and the chair is Atanas Serbezov, professor, chemical engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

R. Russell Rhinehart
Emeritus professor, Oklahoma State University
[email protected]

Regarding the “Unfettered” blog of Aug. 19, this article is essentially a rehash of the same past electrical system and utility cybersecurity incidents that Joe Weiss has been talking about for years. The article bandies around the term “industrial control systems” (ICS), but maybe except for mentioning the Triton incident and some pipeline incidents, doesn't provide any information about cybersecurity incidents in probably the largest segment of ICS in industry, which is in refineries and other petrochemical plants. I keep hearing about how vulnerable these systems are supposed to be, but no real examples (except for Triton) have been forthcoming.

I'd like to hear about real-life incidents where DCSs, PLCs and field instruments (e.g. ICS) in refineries and other petrochemical plants have been successfully cyber attacked, how it occurred and how it was done, so that I can fully and better understand the threat and how it might be countered. Maybe Weiss could provide a future article discussing this in more detail.

William (Bill) L. Mostia, Jr. PE
ISA Fellow, TUV FS Engr.
[email protected]

In case no one else noted them, I have a few corrections for your column, "No escape from revolution" (Oct. ’19, p. 50):

  1. The Gutenberg Bible was the first use of metal moveable type, not wood.
  2. The Bibles were printed in approximately 1454, which would be the mid-15th century, not 13th.

Overall, it was a nice article, and it was a quantum leap for the world of communication.

Jim Vlasic
Director, research and development
[email protected]

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