The use of imaging systems has grown enormously over the last several decades; these systems are an essential component in mobile communication, medicine, and automotive applications. As imaging applications have expanded the complexity of imaging systems hardware - from optics to electronics - has increased dramatically. The increased complexity makes software prototyping an essential tool for the design of novel systems and the evaluation of components. I will describe several simulations we created for image systems engineering applications: (a) designing cameras for autonomous vehicles , (b) simulating image encoding by the human eye and retina for image quality assessments , and (c) assessing the spatial sensitivity of CNNs for multiple applications . This is a good moment to consider how academia and industry might cooperate to create an image systems simulation infrastructure that speeds the development of new systems for the many opportunities that will arise over the next few decades.