Billy Koen

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Billy Vaughn Koen
Born (1938-03-02) March 2, 1938 (age 85)
Scientific career
FieldsNuclear Engineering, Chemical Engineering
InstitutionsDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Billy V. Koen (born March 2, 1938) is professor emeritus, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin where he has taught for over 41 years. Koen is a nuclear engineer, author, and innovator in engineering methods and education.

Life, research, and selected publications[edit]

Billy Koen received a BA in Chemistry and BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin (1960 and 1961) and Diplôme d'Ingénieur en Génie Atomique from the Institut national des sciences et techniques nucléaires, Saclay, France (1963). He received his MS (1962) and ScD (1968) in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He was a consultant to the French Atomic Energy Commission (1971-1972 and 1976-1977). Billy Koen was a visiting professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (東京工業大学) (1994, 1998-1999, and 2001). He is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society.[1] Koen has held numerous offices in the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), including Vice-President for Public Affairs. Professor Koen is a Fellow of ASEE, and has received several awards including the Chester F. Carlson award for innovation, the W. Leighton Collins award for service to engineering education, and the IEEE Centennial Medal.[1]

In nuclear engineering and artificial intelligence (AI), Koen pioneered the use of has AI in solving complex reactor safety issues and has overseen the research of a large number of graduate students. Representative publications:

  • Hansen, K.F., Koen, B.V., Little, W.W., "Stable Numerical Solutions of the Reactor Kinetics Equations, "Nuc. Sci. & Eng., 22, 51-59 (1965).[2]
  • Koen, B.V., "Méthodes Nouvelles Pour L'Evaluation de la Fiabilité: Reconnaissance des Formes," Commissariat à L'Energie Atomique, Rapport CEA-4368, Juin, 1972, (English Translation: "New Methods for the Evaluation of Reliability: Pattern Recognition").[3]
  • Macdonald, J.L., Koen, B.V., "Application of Artificial Intelligence Techniques to Digital Computer Control of Nuclear Reactors," Nuc. Sci. & Eng., Vol. 56, No. 2, Feb. 1975, pp. 14251[4]

In 1969, Koen introduced to engineering education the self-paced Personalized System of Instruction (PSI or Keller Plan) as an alternative teaching method.[5] In 2000, he adapted it to a web-based class. Representative publications:

  • Koen, B.V., "Self-Paced Instruction for Engineering Students," Eng. Educ., Vol. 60, No. 7, March, 1970.[6]
  • Koen, Billy V., "Determining Unit Structure in a PSI Course," Event 1725, American Society for Engineering Education Annual Meeting, June 19–22, 1972.[7]
  • Koen, Billy V., Heger, A. Sharif, "Evaluation of an Introductory Self-Paced Nuclear Course - Twenty Two Years Later," Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, June 20–24, 1993.[8]
  • Koen, B.V., "Creation of a Sense of 'Presence' in a Web-Based Course: The Search for Mark Hopkins' Log in a Digital World," Invited Paper for Special Issue of IEEE Transactions on Education on Web-Based Instruction, November, 2005, Vol. 48, No. 4, pp. 599-604.[9]

For over forty years, Koen created, developed, and taught to engineering and non-engineering students the Theory of Engineering Design in terms of heuristics. Representative publications:

In popular culture[edit]

Koen was the subject of "KOENTMND", a popular internet meme, or "fad", that prominently featured recordings of inspirational messages from Koen's lectures at The University of Texas at Austin. The meme gained popularity in 2006, after one of Koen's students posted an audio recording of him to YTMND, an internet meme community, saying,

Can you believe it? You've already finished C. Do you think you can do MATLAB?

According to the YTMND wiki, "KOENTMND" sites have "achieved high ratings, including some top viewed exposure." The meme has had many spinoffs.[15]



  1. ^ "Current Fellows". American Nuclear Society. Retrieved August 18, 2023.
  2. ^ Hansen, K.F.; Koen, B.V.; Little, W.W. Jr. (May 1965). "Stable Numerical Solutions of the Reactor Kinetics Equations". Nuclear Science and Engineering. 22 (1): 51–59. Bibcode:1965NSE....22...51H. doi:10.13182/NSE65-A19762.
  3. ^ Koen, B.V. (June 1972). Méthodes Nouvelles Pour L'Evaluation de la Fiabilité: Reconnaissance des Formes. Commissariat à L'Energie Atomique. OSTI 4625205.
  4. ^ Macdonald, James L.; Koen, Billy V. (May 1975). "Application of Artificial Intelligence Techniques to Digital Computer Control of Nuclear Reactors". Nuclear Science and Engineering. 57 (1): 142–151. Bibcode:1975NSE....57..142M. doi:10.13182/NSE75-A26636.
  5. ^ Akera, Atsushi (June 2014). "Billy Vaughn Koen and the Personalized System of Instruction in Engineering Education". No. #9397. 121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Archived from the original on July 19, 2020.
  6. ^ Koen, Billy V. (March 1970). "Self-paced Instruction for Engineering Students". Engineering Education. 60 (7): 735–736.
  7. ^ Koen, Billy V. (March 1973). "Determining the Unit Structure in a PSI Course". Engineering Education. 63 (6): 432–434.
  8. ^ Koen, Billy V.; Heger, A. Sharif (June 1993). "Evaluation of an Introductory Self-Paced Nuclear Course - Twenty Two Years Later". Transactions of the American Nuclear Society. 68, Part A: 21–22.
  9. ^ Koen, Billy, V. (November 2005). "Creating a sense of "Presence" in a web-based PSI course: the search for Mark Hopkins' log in a digital world". IEEE Transactions on Education. 84 (4): 599–604. Bibcode:2005ITEdu..48..599K. doi:10.1109/TE.2005.850712. S2CID 23789654.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Holbrook, J. Britt; Mitcham, Carl (2015). Ethics, Science, Technology, and Engineering: A Global Resource (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference. pp. 90–92.
  11. ^ Koen, Billy V. (October 1984). "Toward a Definition of the Engineering Method". Proceedings of the ASEE-IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference: 544–549.
  12. ^ Koen, Billy V. (1988). "Toward a Definition of the Engineering Method". European Journal of Engineering Education. 13 (3): 307–315. doi:10.1080/03043798808939429.
  13. ^ Koen, Billy Vaughn (2009). "The Engineering Method and Its Implications for Scientific, Philosophical, and Universal Methods". The Monist. 92 (3): 357–386. doi:10.5840/monist200992321. JSTOR 27904131.
  14. ^ Koen, Billy V. "An Engineering Quest for Universal Method". Norms, Reasoning and Knowledge in Technology (Boxmeer, NL, June 2005). Section of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology, Technical University of Eindhoven.
  15. ^ "KOENTMND - YTMND". Retrieved 2021-03-29.
  16. ^ Koen, Billy (March 2003). Discussion of the Method: Conducting the Engineer's Approach to Problem Solving. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-515599-0.
  17. ^ Koen, Billy V. (2001). Heuristics for Internationally Distributed Collaboration Between Japan and the U.S. - A User's Manual. The University of Texas at Austin: Japan Industry and Management of Technology Program.
  18. ^ Koen, Billy Vaughn (1985). El Método De Ingeniería. Universidad del Valle. ISBN 978-958-96342-4-0.
  19. ^ Koen, Billy (1985). Definition of the Engineering Method. American Society for Engineering Education. ISBN 978-0-87823-101-0.

External links[edit]