E/SEC 103, Spring 2023

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Management of Technology


  • Richard Murray (CDS/BE), murray@cds.caltech.edu
  • Stu Feldman and Eric Schmidt
  • Lectures: Mon/Wed, 1:30-2:55 pm

Teaching Assistant

  • TBD
  • Office hours: TBD

This is the public homepage for E/SEC 103, Spring 2023.

Catalog Description

This course is intended for students interested in learning how rapidly evolving technologies are harnessed to produce useful products or fertile new area for research. Students will learn about how technology and innovation leaders identify and shape emerging technologies and how technology can be harnessed and scaled to create new products and services. There will be a term project where students predict the future evolution of an exciting technology and explore the potential implications of that technology. The course is team-based and designed for students considering choosing an exciting research area, working in companies (any size, including start-ups), or eventually going to business school. Topics include technology as a growth agent, financial fundamentals, integration into other business processes, product development pipeline and portfolio management, learning curves, risk assessment, technology trend methodologies (scenarios, projections), motivation, rewards and recognition. Industries considered will include electronics (hardware and software), aerospace, medical, biotech, etc. Students will perform both primary and secondary research and present defensible projections based on their technology research.

Learning Objectives

  • Teach students how to identify and analyze new technology areas/trends and explore the potential new applications of those technologies with potential for large impact
  • Provide students with access to technology leaders in different fields who can provide new insights, ideas on how to manage technology, and help build students’ networks
  • Identify new areas of research for potential investment by funding agencies and philanthropic organizations, with anticipated roadmap/path to impact

Lecture Schedule

Week Date Topic Lecturer(s)
W1 3 Apr (Mon) Class organization and logistics RM
5 Apr (Wed) What is Technology (De Weck, Ch 1); Scaling Laws (ES notes) RM, ES
W2 10 Apr (Mon) Project pitches SF, RM
12 Apr (Wed) Quantifying Technological Progress (De Weck, Ch 4) RM
W3 17 Apr (Mon)* Caltech Library Resources Donna W
19 Apr (Wed) Patents and Intellectual Property (De Weck, Ch 5) RM
W4 24 Apr (Mon) Project presentations (for feedback) SF, RM
26 Apr (Wed) Systems Modeling and Technology Sensitivity Analysis (De Weck, Ch 11) RM
W5 1 May (Mon) No class (prepare for midterm) N/A
3 May (Wed) Midterm presentations (1:30-4 pm) SF, RM, ES
W6 8 May (Mon)* No class (midterm feedback) N/A
10 May (Wed) Technology Scouting (De Weck, Ch 14) RM
W7 15 May (Mon)* No class N/A
17 May (Wed)* External Speaker #1 (2-3 pm) OI
W8 22 May (Mon) Individual project discussions SF, RM
24 May (Wed)
26 May (Fri)
W9 29 May (Mon) Memorial Day (no class)
31 May (Wed) External Speaker #2 SM
Finals 9 Jun (Fri) Final presentations SF, RM, ES
9 Jun (Fri) Final report due


  • 20% - Class participation
  • 20% - Midterm presentation
  • 30% - Final presentation
  • 30% - Final writeup

Collaboration Policy

This is a team-based class. Full collaboration is allowed and students are encouraged to discuss course materials, homework assignments, and projects with anyone that they choose. Course homework assignments are designed to be done as a group, but reports should reflect your individual understanding of the topic and/or your team's joint efforts, as appropriate.

Course Text and References

  1. [De Weck] Olivier L. De Weck, Technology Roadmapping and Development: A Quantitative Approach to the Management of Technology. 1st edition, Springer, 2022.