Cad Software

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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CAD software is an acronym for computer aided design software. CAD software was originally conceived of during the late 1950s by software pioneer and genius Dr. Patrick Hanratty. As early as 1956, Dr. Hanratty was researching the possibility for 3D software. In the early 60s he wrote the first numerical code (NC) programming language.

The first computer aided design programs (1960s era) used simple formulas to display patterns of lines--first in two dimensions, and then in three. These programs contained hundreds of thousands of individual architectural elements, which could be assembled in any variety, and "drawn" on-screen, creating a complete design concept. Unfortunately, early users of this system had to be both expert designers, draftsmen, and advanced programmers-not to mention be really, really rich. For instance, in the late 70s, a run-of-the-mill CAD system had a maximum 512 Kb memory, 20 Mb storage, and would cost 125k.

Progress throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s was measured in decades. But beginning in 1994, the progress began to develop exponentially. There were as many breakthroughs in 1996, for instance, as there were in the entire decade of the 80s.

CAD Software: For Space, Engineering, Architecture, and Cartoons

Just like products developed for NASA eventually being used to improve "life on earth," so too were groundbreaking technologies eventually interpreted for day-to-day use. Today, there is CAD software capable of running a human genome project at Cambridge, running the new car assembly line for General Motors in Detroit, or for running a cabinet design program for new homeowners Samantha and Ed Ballerini in Glendale. But the more things change, the more they stay the same: as recently as 2000, it was said that 70 percent of all existing 3D CAD software could still trace their roots back to Dr. Hanratty's original 1962 codes.


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