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Neil Siegel

IBM Professor of Engineering Management and Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Computer Science Practice


  • Doctoral Degree, Industrial & Systems Engineering, University of Southern California
  • Master's Degree, Mathematics, University of Southern California
  • Bachelor's Degree, Mathematics, University of Southern California


Neil Siegel is the IBM Professor of Engineering Management at the USC school of engineering, in the department of industrial and systems engineering.

He was formerly the vice-president and chief technology officer of Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector. He led the sector's technology activities, provided oversight of the sector's research portfolio, and oversaw the development of solutions for the company's most-complex and most important problems.

Prior to this current role, Dr. Siegel was the sector's vice-president and chief engineer. In this position, he oversaw the sector's 12,000-plus scientists and engineers, directed engineering process improvements, and led activities intended to further the development of the company's top technical talent.

Previously, Dr. Siegel served as vice-president and chief technology officer of Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector, and vice-president and general manager of the company's Tactical Systems division. He has been responsible for several projects outside of the United States, including work in the U.K., Egypt, Germany, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Siegel led the engineering on a large number of successful fielded military, intelligence, and commercial systems, including the U.S. Blue-Force Tracker, the Army's first unmanned aerial vehicle, the Forward-Area Air Defense system, and many others. These systems have repeatedly been cited as model programs and important national capabilities. He also led work for the steel industry, the movie industry, and other commercial enterprises. He has a large number of inventions that have been implemented into fielded products and systems (including commercial products by companies like Garman, Microsoft, and Apple), and holds nearly 50 issued patents worldwide.

His expertise is recognized by the U.S. Government, as indicated by past membership on the Defense Science Board, current membership on the Army Science Board, and other senior government advisory panels. He is also in demand as a speaker for both academic and conference settings, and is an adjunct professor of engineering at both the University of Southern California, and the University of California at Los Angeles.

He is certified by the International Congress on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) as an expert systems engineering practitioner (ESEP).

Dr. Siegel has a doctorate in systems engineering from the University of Southern California. His advisor there was noted computer scientist & systems engineer Barry Boehm.

His many honors include:

• Election to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering
• Selection as a fellow of the IEEE
• Selection as a fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors
• The IEEE Simon Ramo Medal for systems engineering and systems science
• The company's Chairman's Award for Innovation (three times)
• The Army's Order of Saint Barbara
• The iCMG award for system architecture
• The Northern Virginia Technology Council CTO-of-the-year award

Programs that he has led have also won many honors, including the inaugural Crosstalk award as the best-ran software program in the entire U.S. government, the IDGA award as the "Most Innovative U.S. Government Program", and the Federal 100 Monticello Award.

Public service includes board positions for charitable organizations, 10 years as an elected public official (California Hazard Abatement District board), and an advisory role for the research foundation of the State University of New York.

Research Summary

His personal research contributions have centered around the systems engineering problem of developing large, complex (both technically and social) societal systems. He has been the actual lead-designer &/or program manager for several such systems, has draw lessons-learned from those experiences, has used the large volume of actual programmatic metrics available from those experiences to design a research program to create new insights into the root-cause of such failures, and created (and validated through his research programs) a set of novel techniques intended to provide better outcomes for such large system development programs. This has involved the creation of design patterns and design guidelines for such systems, methodological guidance, metrics for assessing the adequacy of a design, and guidance for how best to assign people to tasks on such teams. This research has been validated through its application to real development programs, with striking and significant positive results. He has identified novel root-causes of system-development failures, new methods to correct those root-causes, and at present, is working to apply of those new techniques to problem domains such as health, energy, and Government information systems.

An addition research focus has been how to implement large, mobile, ad-hoc radio networks over relatively low data-rate carriers, focusing on what he calls "infrastructureless" networks (e.g., wireless radio-frequency networks that have no fixed infrastructure, such as cell-phone towers, repeaters, etc.) and techniques for achieving acceptable dynamics through what he calls "force-structure-aware" networks. He has been a pioneer in large-scale deployments of GPS-enabled applications (like the Blue-Force Tracking system).

He has been the sponsor for important research in the field of human-computer interaction. This research has resulted in the controlling patents for computer multi-touch (e.g., controlling the action of a computer through touching a computer screen with multiple fingers simultaneously) and free-space gesture (e.g., controlling a computer through free-space gestures without having to wear specially-instrumented gloves, rings, or similar apparatus).


  • 2020 National Academy of Inventors Fellow, National Academy of Inventors
  • 2012 ICMG Systems Architect of the Year
  • 2011 IEEE Simon Ramo Medal for Systems Engineering and Systems Science
  • 2011 IEEE IEEE Fellow
  • 2010 Northern Virginia Technology Council CTO of the Year
  • 2005 US National Academy of Engineering elected member, US National Academy of Engineering
  • 1996 US Army member, Order of Saint Barbara
  • Daniel J Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science
  • GER 202C
  • Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center
  • 3715 McClintock Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90089
  • USC Mail Code: 0193
Contact Information
  • (213) 740-0263