tisdag 29 september 2009

Death and Rebirth of the Computing Engineer 2

Different fields of engineering concern different phenomena described by different often named differential equations as described in How to Not Organize a University including
  • mechanical: Navier's eqns for solids and Navier-Stokes eqns for fluids
  • electrical: Maxwell's eqns for electromagnetism
  • chemical: Reaction-convection-diffusion eqns
  • quantum physics: Schrödinger's eqn  
  • classical physics: Lagrange's eqn
  • structural: beam, plate and shell eqns.
Traditional engineering is based on various special methods for solving these equations using analytical mathematics, handbook formulas, tables and calculations by slide ruler or mechanical calculator. Each field has developed it own special bag of tricks for this purpose,
and this bag of tricks forms the core of engineering education in each field.

The 68 finite element revolution has brought a fundamental change: All of the different differential equations can be solved by one and the same methodology! This has changed engineering practice and is now opening to more effective education: Instead of spending years to learn a special bag of tricks,  which no longer is used in practice,  in a special domain of engineering, the student can learn a general methodology opening to interdisciplinary studies and practice.

The modern engineer equipped with a modern general computational methodology for simulation will be able to combine knowledge from different fields of engineering in new forms of interdisciplinary work, and this is what society needs... 

Engineering education today largely is the  same as 50 years ago, and the 68 computational revolution has not yet changed much. But the wave is building up and changes are around the corner...stay tuned...on the surfing board towards modern engineering studies...

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