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Computer Science and Information Management Asian Institute of Technology
Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT)
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Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 2 / 16 .Koen (2003) These notes contain material c Koen (2003).Readings Readings for these lecture notes: .
Outline 1 Introduction Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 3 / 16 .
Billy Vaughn Koen is a Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin: http://www.utexas. President Emeritus.V. Main reference: Koen.Introduction The Engineering Method Today we’ll talk about the engineering method. Oxford University Press. .edu/∼koen/REVIEWS/REVIEWS.html One review: The best description of engineering that I have ever seen .utexas.edu/∼koen/ http://www. Discussion of the Method: Conducting the Engineer’s Approach to Problem Solving. William A. B. (2003). Wulf. and one of the most provocative hypotheses about science and nature that I have ever seen! (Dr.me.me. . National Academy of Engineering) Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 4 / 16 .
engineering method From Koen: we have all heard about the scientiﬁc method: “Science is theory corrected by experiment.” or the other way around. Everyone knows the scientiﬁc method. But look around you.Introduction Scientiﬁc method vs. Engineering is omnipresent. Everything in this room was created by an engineer. But what is the engineering method? Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 5 / 16 .
” Koen’s deﬁnition: Engineering Method The strategy for causing the best change in a poorly understood situation within the available resources Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 6 / 16 .Introduction What is an engineer? The term engineer comes from an old French word s’ingenieur meaning “anyone who sets his mental powers in action to discover or devise some means of succeeding in a diﬃcult task.
bridges. This is the engineering method. A person who makes computers. mobile phones. roads etc. etc. etc. actually. Note here that though the focus is on the diﬀerent products.Introduction Lay concepts of an engineer Some lay concepts of an engineer: A person who makes planes. the process leading to the creation of these artifacts is the same. A person who makes chemicals. Koen’s concept of an engineer: To be human is to be an engineer! Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 7 / 16 .
Figure 1 Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 8 / 16 . Then the goal is to move the state of the world from point A to point B: Koen (2003). The ﬁrst step is to deﬁne the problem.Introduction Change Engineers cause change.
In civil engineering. time. We want the best possible change.Introduction Change Not just any change is desired. the Golden Gate Bridge. But we don’t want just any path from point A to point B. We want the best possible transition. But there are constraints: budget. what are some the problems and the goals for the transition? (Think about.) Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 9 / 16 . So we want the best possible change subject to resource constraints. say. material availability.
Introduction Uncertainty The uncertainty and complexity in the problem deﬁnition. Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 10 / 16 . Uncertainty at the start: not only are we not sure exactly what state point B is. and the best transition are what require an engineer. but we also don’t necessarily know exactly what is going on at state A. Uncertainty along the way: the goal may change as the engineering process continues. the best solution.
“Back of the envelope calculation” can be extremely useful here. 1 How many desks with chairs can be put in this room in a lecture setting? 1 min Now how many desks (without chairs) can cover the area? 1 min How many can cover the volume of the lecture room? 1 min How about 1 day? 2 3 4 Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 11 / 16 .Introduction Resources The solution must be consistent with available resources. We have to be able to estimate the resources required for our problem.
. complexity Interest & encouragement Team compatibility. exchanging one kind for another.Introduction Resources Other important resources: Time & Money? E. enthusiasm Another issue: there are nominal resources and actual resources Certain budget. Eﬃciency of allocating resources... Otherwise at a disadvantage in competitive bidding. weight: 100 lbs of rocket required to put 1 lb of satellite into orbit 1 dB gain in signal to noise ratio in satellite communication is 1 MUSD due to power eﬃciency.g. Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 12 / 16 . organizational ability. time: overrun 10% general practice (contingency) must be taken into account by the design proposal.
Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 13 / 16 . Example: select the proper combination given contrasting choices: Objective function The best we can do is not the best. the best we can do is the best we can do.Introduction What is best? Given the uncertainty what strategy should an engineer use? The engineer’s notion of a best solution: Optimum solution Important area of engineering: optimization theory Consider automobile design: lifetime vs cost To exist is to be some engineer’s notion of best. Think about this in the context of campus accommodations.
Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 14 / 16 .Introduction What is best? A fundamental characteristic of an engineering solution is that it is the best available from the view point of a speciﬁc engineer.
.. and none will be so diﬃcult or expensive to accomplish.. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind..Introduction Example engineering problems Some example engineering problems: Ronald Reagan’s space weapons Example statement of an engineering problem: ”I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. or more important for the long-range exploration of space.” (Kennedy’s moon mission speech) Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 15 / 16 ...
it is the unique. Engineering design. A heuristic is anything that provides a plausible aid or direction in the solution of a problem but is in the ﬁnal analysis is unjustiﬁed. Matthew Dailey (CSIM-AIT) Engineering Method 16 / 16 . is the use of heuristics to cause the best change in a poorly understood situation within the available resources. and potentially fallible! We’ll talk more about heuristics in diﬀerent case studies for the class. incapable of justiﬁcation. or the engineering method. essential core of the human activity called engineering.Introduction The Principle Rule of the Engineering Method Engineering Design Engineering design is the essence of engineering.