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Spring 2015

The details on this page will be filled in as the semester progresses.

Book: Using the book, Edition 2.  At this site there are also a number of documents that are useful for solving homework problems or documents referenced in the book bibliography.  Moreover, the code for simulations in the book and homeworks is at this site.


  • Slides: Click here and here to download slides for lectures delivered to date.
  • Video: Recorded lectures are linked to below; click on "Lecture X" in each case.
  • Slides and video: These are also available at iTunesU for convenient viewing on phones, tablets, and computers.  The video is also at YouTube.

Instructions on Assignments:

Download Matlab/Simulink Now: OSU students should download the latest version of Matlab/Simulink by clicking here. You will need this for some homework problems, and the use of it will be explained in class via a tutorial.

Electronic Submission: All assignments must be submitted electronically to the Carmen site for the class, not to the instructor or TA.  Please use a .doc or .pdf file format for all submissions. Carmen automatically checks for overlap with all submissions, this year, and in the past.

Assignments, Grading, and Cooperative Learning for Appropriate Technology: Click here for detailed information on grading, assignments, projects on appropriate technologies, and information on the "cooperative learning" approach that is used.  Also:

  1. Homeworks: Given below as they are assigned, including the due dates (most by referring to problems given in the book as "X.Y" where X is the chapter number and Y is the problem number). Note that the numbers were consistent with the draft of the book at the time of assignment, and may not be consistent with later drafts/editions (e.g., Edition 2).
  2. Project teams: See the team assignments and email addresses of everyone in class so you can contact your team members. 
  3. Midterm and Final Projects: These are assigned now (in the assignments and grading document linked to above) and you and your team should get organized and get to work on them right away.  See all deadlines in the above document, and below.  
  4. Final Project oral reports video and e-reports are below.

Week 1, Jan 12-16: Poverty and Development Up Close: A Case Study

Lecture 1: Introduction:  Introductions, overview of course/book, assignments/grading, and collaborative learning approach.

Lecture 2: Living on One Dollar: Video Living on One Dollar in Guatemala, viewed in class (If you click that link, you will find that they require you to pay a fee to view the movie.  It is also available on iTunes and NETFLIX).

Lecture 3: Guatemala Up Close:  Discussion on "Living on One Dollar," aspects of poverty and context up close and technological solutions, solidarity challenge.

Homework 1: Assigned Jan. 12, due Mon., Feb. 2 (see below). Problems: 1.1, 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 1.8, 1.16, 1.17, 1.19, 1.21, 1.23, 1.24, 1.25

Due: Project team leader choice, and communication strategy choice, due Fri., Jan. 16 by 3pm.  See assignments document above.

Week 2, Jan 19-23: Poverty and Development: Global and US

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., day, no class

Lecture 4: World Poverty and Development: UN Millennium Development Goals; Income poverty, income inequality, human development index (HDI), gender inequality, technology data; Public data explorer, World Bank data visualizer; Related data on orphans, homelessness, human trafficking/slavery

Lecture 5: US Poverty: Poverty line and data, homelessness, inequality data, comparative analysis with world (poverty, inequality, mobility)

Due: Project choice due by Fri., Jan. 23, by 3pm. See assignments document above.

Week 3, Jan 26-30: Sustainable Development and Culture

Lecture 6: Sustainable Development: Ecosystem services, pollution (air/climate, soil, water), planetary boundaries, impact of HDI on ecological footprint, formulation of UN sustainable development goals

Lecture 7: Culture and Roles: Culture, importance of cross-cultural understanding, cross-cultural conversation, World Values Survey, giving, trust, happiness.  Role, priorities, and "degrees" of humanitarian engineering.

Lecture 8: Introduction to Models and Dynamics: Influence diagram models of individual poverty and community issues, tutorial on Simulink models: signals, systems, and dynamics

Week 4, Feb 2-6: Models, Dynamics, and Analysis of Poverty

Lecture 9: Dynamical Models of Poverty: Life-time budget simulator example, dynamical model of poverty in Simulink, computational analysis of well-being. Risk and suffering.

Lecture 10: Financial Management for the Poor: Proportional-integral-derivative control as a financial advisor, tuning and performance,computational analysis. Implementation strategies.

Lecture 11: Development and Sustainability: Dynamical model of the tragedy of the commons, how utilization and population impact resource dynamics and the occurrence of the tragedy.

Due: Homework 1 is due by Mon., Feb. 2, at 3pm.  

Homework 2: Assigned Feb. 2, due Mon., Feb. 16 (see below). Problems: 1.29, 1.30, 1.31, 1.32, 1.33.

Week 5, Feb 9-13: Social Justice: Rights, Inequalities, and Religious Perspectives

Lecture 12: Human Rights and Inequality: Human rights and inequality introduction, engineers' role in inequality of technological capacity

Lecture 13: Catholic Social Justice: Catholic social doctrine, rights, principles, role in "preferential option for those poor in technological capacity"

Lecture 14: Hindu and Islamic Social Justice: Hindu social justice, caste system, reform movements; Islamic social justice, charity, relevance to humanitarian engineering.

Due: Design review #1 assignment due by Fri., Feb. 13, at 3pm. See assignments document above.

Week 6, Feb 16-20: Social Justice: Secular Perspectives and Engineering Ethics

Lecture 15: John Rawls: John Rawls's justice as fairness, principles of justice, difference principle, principles of justice for engineers

Lecture 16: Amartya Sen: Amartya Sen's "idea of justice," "development as freedom," capabilities approach, and role in identifying essential technologies

Lecture 17: Engineering Ethics and Social Justice: Engineering ethics and social justice, comparisons, role in humanitarian engineering

Due: Design review #1 assignment resubmissions due by Fri., Feb. 20 at 3pm. See assignments document above.

Due: Homework 2 is due by Mon., Feb. 16, at 3pm.  

Homework 3: Assigned Mon. Feb 16, due Fri Feb 27.  Problems 2.2, 2.4, (pick two of the following: 2.5, 2.6, 2.8, 2.9, 2.10, 2.11, 2.12, 2.13), 2.15, 2.16, 2.19, 2.23, 2.24, 2.25, 2.27.

Week 7, Feb 23-27: Models, Dynamics, and Analysis of Social Justice

Lecture 18: Analysis of Distributive Justice: Influence diagram models of social justice systems.  Models of distributive justice, model and computational analysis of a wealth distribution policy in a poor community, equal/poor-skewed/rich-skewed communities

Lecture 19: Analysis of Integrated Participatory and Distributive Justice: Model and computational analysis of democracy and distributive justice in a poor community (distributed optimization), equal/poor-skewed/rich-skewed communities

Lecture 20: Analysis of Environmental Justice: Modeling and analysis of the dynamics of environmental justice, environmental justice policy, impact of development and population on the policy and the tragedy of the commons

Due: Homework 3, Fri Feb 27, 3pm.

Homework 4: Assigned Fri. Feb 27, due Mon. March 9. Problems 2.31, 2.34, 2.36, 2.38.

Week 8, March 2-6: Development Strategies: Development Economics Perspectives

Lecture 21: Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities of Our Time

Lecture 22: William Easterly, The White Man's Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good

Lecture 23: Banerjee and Duflo, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Due: Written Midterm Project report due by Fri., March 6, at 3pm (one report per team). Team leaders email Prof. Passino to set up oral report meeting.  See assignments document above.

Week 9, March 9-13: Development Strategies: Health, Education, and Business Perspectives

Lecture 24: Global Health Perspective: Health/development problems up close, health initiatives and statistics, determinants of health, socioecological model, environmental health, technology for health

Lecture 25: International Education Perspective: Education initiatives and statistics, utilitarian and transformational perspectives, school access and attendance, educational quality and outcomes, technical and vocational education and training, political learning, STEM education expectations

Lecture 26: Polak and Warwick: The Business Solution to Poverty: Approach, zero-based design, customers, contrast with traditional development, rationale for business approach, marketing

Due: Homework 4 assigned Fri. Feb 27, due Mon. March 9, 3pm.

Homework 5: Assigned Mon. March 9, due Fri. March 27.  Problems 3.1(e), 3.4, 3.5, 3.8, 3.10, 3.11, 3.15, 3.18, 3.20, 3.21, 3.25.


Week 10: March 23-27: Models, Dynamics, and Analysis of Development Strategies

Lecture 27: Analysis of Poverty Traps: Mathematical and computational analysis of economic growth and poverty traps (coupled nonlinear ordinary differential equation models, equilibria, and stability/instability)

Lecture 28: Technology Diffusion and Breaking Poverty Traps: Mathematical and computational analysis of technology diffusion impact on economic development.  Computational anlaysis of capital investment, provisioning, and democracy for breaking poverty traps

Lecture 29: Analysis of Sustainable Development: Computational analysis of feedback control for management of the commons, effects of development and population increases

Due: Homework 5 due Sat. March 28, 3pm.

Homework 6: Assigned Fri. March 27, due Fri. April 3. Problems 3.26, 3.28, 3.29, 3.30, 3.31.

Week 11, March 30-April 3: Engineering for Community Development, Participatory Development

Lecture 30: The Helper and Client: The helping process, elements of success, helper-client relationship, communication skills, problem-management and opportunity development, helping as a feedback control system

Lecture 31: Community Development: Challenges of oppression, empowerment, resistance to change; symptoms vs. root causes, importance of relationships, theoretical frameworks (e.g., appreciative inquiry).

Lecture 32: Participatory Development: Cooperative feedback control; features, process, challenges; participative action research (PAR), needs and resources assessment; monitoring, evaluation, and impact analysis; common-pool resources, education, health; outcomes and lessons

Due: Homework 6 due Fri. April 3, 3pm.

Due: Design review #2 assignment due by Fri., April 3, at 3pm. See assignments document above.

Homework 7: Assigned Fri. April 3, due April 17. Problems 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.8, 4.13, 4.17, 4.23, 4.24, 4.31, 4.33, 4.38, 4.39, 4.40, 4.42, 4.48, 4.55, 4.56 (pick 5 parts).

Week 12, April 6-10: Participatory Technology Development and Humanitarian Technologies

Lecture 33: Participatory Technology Development: Finding opportunties; flexible planning; needs; specifications; concept generation, selection, and testing; architecture and industrial design; design for environment; design for manufacturing; prototypes; robustness; economics; project management; design for scale, participatory social business

Lecture 34: Humanitarian Technology/Appropriate Technology: The technology maturity spectrum, design for social-justice, design for the developing world, extreme design constraints and unusual design trade-offs, appropriate technology (personal and community, role of modularity)

Lecture 35: Humanitarian Technology Issues: Technologies for the homeless, Technology evaluation for communities/NGOs.  Humanitarian systems engineering (wide-area problems and fighting structural injustices)

Due: Design review #2 assignment resubmissions due by Fri., April 10 at 3pm. See assignments document above.

Week 13, April 13-17: Humanitarian STEM Education

Lecture 36: Humanitarian STEM Education Programs: International STEM education program examples, principles, participatory STEM education program design, instructional technology

Lecture 37: Humanitarian STEM Education Experiments: STEM education targets, STEM instruction in context, crossing language barriers, relevance of culture and context, experiments for K-12 and university.

Lecture 38: Information Sources for Humanitarian Engineering: Humanitarian/appropriate technology information sources, education, web sites, conferences, journals, organizations

Due: Homework 7 due Fri. April 17, 3pm.

Week 14: April 20-24: Models, Dynamics, and Analysis of Sociotechnological Systems

Lecture 39: Cooperative Management of Community Technology: People vs. automation for management, model of automated management, computational analysis for equality/inequality cases

Lecture 40: Modeling and Analysis of Community Dynamics: Mathematical model of technologies embedded in a community, simulation of influence of technologies on community dynamics, sustainable community development indices (SCDI), Monte Carlo simulation of effects of technologies on sustainable community development. Computational humanitarianism,

Lecture 41: Humanitarian Engineering Projects: OSU Humanitarian Engineering Center, project opportunities, project principles and best practices

Homework 8: Assigned Mon. April 20, due Mon. April 27, 3pm. Problems 4.57, 4.59, 4.64.

Week 15: April 27:  The 10 Principles of Humanitarian Engineering

Lecture 42: The 10 Principles of Humanitarian Engineering

Due: Homework 8 due Mon. April 27, 3pm.

Due: Written Final Project report due by Mon., April 27, at 3pm. See assignments document above.

Week 15-16: April 29-May 5: Final Exam Period: Appropriate Technology Final Design Reports

Final Exam: Friday, May 1, 4:00pm-5:45pm in Rm. 188 Baker


  1. Team 1: Water Filtration for Nicaragua
  2. Team 2: Water Purification and Filtration System for Rural Ethiopia
  3. Team 3: Building a Stirling Engine: A STEM Education Program
  4. Team 4: Rain Water Collection and Filtration for El Salvador
  5. Team 5: Design of a STEM Circuit Project Incorporating Engineering and Communication Theories