Digital Engineering
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04-09-2014, 12:31 AM
Digital Engineering
The Golden Gate Bridge, the P-51 Mustang and the Boeing 747 were engineered with a CRC book and slide rules. So was the SR-71. That book and a slide rule got us to the Moon and back.

Are there any non-derivative, notable works of engineering today that would have been impossible without modern engineering software? The A-380 was of course an all-CAD project, but the A-380 is derivative technology - and I'm not sure any of its structure or powerplant are beyond the reach of the slide rule (other than in the man hours to get there).

Is the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore something a T-square and triangles could never achieve without 16 terabytes of C++?

There's a corollary question herein: The cheap availability of super-computational capability makes brute force engineering feasible. The P-51 Mustang was a brilliant amalgamation of elegant solutions to challenging problems - because elegant solutions were the only feasible solutions. So if there really ARE any examples of notable engineering only achievable by software - COULD they have been achieved WITHOUT brute force computation had time been taken to obtain the elegant solutions?
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04-09-2014, 12:38 AM
RE: Digital Engineering
(04-09-2014 12:31 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  The Golden Gate Bridge, the P-51 Mustang and the Boeing 747 were engineered with a CRC book and slide rules. So was the SR-71. That book and a slide rule got us to the Moon and back.

Are there any non-derivative, notable works of engineering today that would have been impossible without modern engineering software? The A-380 was of course an all-CAD project, but the A-380 is derivative technology - and I'm not sure any of its structure or powerplant are beyond the reach of the slide rule (other than in the man hours to get there).

Is the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore something a T-square and triangles could never achieve without 16 terabytes of C++?

There's a corollary question herein: The cheap availability of super-computational capability makes brute force engineering feasible. The P-51 Mustang was a brilliant amalgamation of elegant solutions to challenging problems - because elegant solutions were the only feasible solutions. So if there really ARE any examples of notable engineering only achievable by software - COULD they have been achieved WITHOUT brute force computation had time been taken to obtain the elegant solutions?

The boundaries of the problem aren't all that clear to me, but there are things that simply aren't feasible without computational power and software, like:
  • Fly by wire - there are some aircraft that could not be flown without computer control, they are too unstable, e.g. F-117.
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • 3-D printing
  • Repeatable precision machining, e.g. complex curves on turbine blades.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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04-09-2014, 12:49 AM
RE: Digital Engineering
(04-09-2014 12:31 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  The Golden Gate Bridge, the P-51 Mustang and the Boeing 747 were engineered with a CRC book and slide rules. So was the SR-71. That book and a slide rule got us to the Moon and back.

Are there any non-derivative, notable works of engineering today that would have been impossible without modern engineering software? The A-380 was of course an all-CAD project, but the A-380 is derivative technology - and I'm not sure any of its structure or powerplant are beyond the reach of the slide rule (other than in the man hours to get there).

Is the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore something a T-square and triangles could never achieve without 16 terabytes of C++?

There's a corollary question herein: The cheap availability of super-computational capability makes brute force engineering feasible. The P-51 Mustang was a brilliant amalgamation of elegant solutions to challenging problems - because elegant solutions were the only feasible solutions. So if there really ARE any examples of notable engineering only achievable by software - COULD they have been achieved WITHOUT brute force computation had time been taken to obtain the elegant solutions?

I think the other aspect you're missing is the reduction in testing time. From memory it took quite a lot of time and effort to get the P-51's scoop right. Which involved literally making many different examples. All with minute variations and flight testing each shape. Slowed the development of the plane down a lot.

Lets also not forget that the P-51 started life as the A-something (Not sure of the English aircraft designation)... and sold to Britain because the American's didn't like the performance/power ratios of the early, American engined machines. It took a LOT of trial and error development for the machine to mature into the P-51.

Same can be said for a lot of 'slide rule' things. With modern computational power, many sims can be done to help winnow down the right direction to pursue with development.

As for the Airbus' power-plant? Chas already pointed out how much computing power has aided in the design and development of better blades for turbines. As well as the making their of.

Again, something that back in the slide rule days was a really complicated and time consuming affair to develop.

Much cheers to all.
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04-09-2014, 05:21 AM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2014 05:26 AM by TheInquisition.)
RE: Digital Engineering
Self-driving cars, smart phones.
There's a lot of things that we take for granted, but need computational power to make it a reality, such as the design of CPU circuits.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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04-09-2014, 06:40 AM
RE: Digital Engineering
The internet. CERN. Adaptive telescope optics.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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04-09-2014, 08:12 AM
RE: Digital Engineering
I do not think there is any non-derivative tech anymore. AFAIK every thing is a new use or improvement.

A self driving car is the adaptation of existing tech. Any computer is a derivative of the first one that was designed by hand.

Modern engineering software greatly reduces development time and cost.
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05-09-2014, 06:52 AM
RE: Digital Engineering
A fair chunk of modern circuit design from the silicon level up to A380 wiring looms wouldn't be possible without computational tools. Aircraft design has been revolutionised by computer modelling prior to construction. I guess I'm not understanding the "non-derivative" clause. What would it mean for a technology not to be derivative?

Computation is a tool. It is a necessary tool for many engineered systems. It could be replaced in some simple mechanical systems with less effective tools, but in many complex systems computation and computerised storage are required just to manage the configuration of a product under development. The paperwork would be too difficult without it, let alone the calculations and relevant algorithms.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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