Computer Aided Engineering

Written by Adam Blau
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The computer has become an irreplaceable tool for engineers in the past few decades. The rapid progression of computer technology has permitted experimentation and innovation in design that would have been tremendously (or impossibly) difficult without recent computational power. The most exciting aspect of this revolution is that computer-aided engineering is now becoming more and more accessible to laypeople.

There was a time not so long ago when engineers needed to spend an inordinate amount of time performing rigorous calculations to ensure that their components would function as they had planned. A thorough knowledge of calculus and advanced mathematics was usually required to be a remotely successful engineer. Some have even surmised that engineers spent a greater percentage of their time calculating than they did actually designing.

Computer Aided Design and the Engineering Revolution

In recent years, though, a number of computer-aided design (CAD) tools have emerged that bear the brunt of the complex mathematics. The engineer is freer to actually design and come up with creative solutions. The computer takes care of the actual computation and analysis, allowing the designer more time and energy to try techniques that would have otherwise fallen by the wayside.

Such innovations in CAD software has even allowed for the creation of a new category of engineer hobbyist. Now that computers can take care of all the difficult computations, people without the mathematical training are able to make designs without trudging through calculus. The decreasing price of some CAD software has also facilitated this engineering revolution.

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