I am writing this from over 30,000 feet (actually 35,001 feet/10,667 meters according to my video map) over the Atlantic Ocean and on my way to Europe. The recent vote of the UK citizenry to leave the European Union (EU) is a hot topic at the moment (what everyone has been calling BREXIT). And I just finished reading yet another article on BREXIT. So I decided to digest some of what I have gathered in an article and here it is.
Taking the title of my article at face value “Should We Stay or Should We Go - or Should We Even Care?”, the answer is definitely “it depends”. It depends a lot on who you mean by “we”. And probably everyone should care because BREXIT lends weight to many of the separatist movements around the world. Whether it is Scotland and the UK, Quebec and Canada, Greece and the EU (also known as GREXIT), or Catalonia and Spain, or elsewhere, separation is in the air. And that causes uncertainty and disruption which affects all of us at some level.
My career has been spent applying engineering principles to predict the future - specifically how actual or planned physical systems will respond in the future. Such predictions of course allow engineers to make decisions on safety, energy, environmental impact, and cost. Physical systems follow the laws of physics. Compared to other areas of human endeavor like oil, politics, and the economy, engineering is easy.
On a flight to California a couple days ago I read a variety of articles discussing oil, politics and the economy - as well as engineering and technology. Everyone wants to know about the future. I want to know about the future. Lots of people are trying to predict the future.
Safety is a primary consideration in engineering design. Safety for people is always paramount. Safety for the environment is an ever-growing focus of engineers. Any engineer worth the name would feel devastated if their engineering effort failed for some reason to protect people and the environment. One of the things engineers rely on to make system designs and operations safer are analytical tools like those developed by Applied Flow Technology (AFT). How does AFT software make the world a safer place?
The first and most obvious way that AFT software makes the world safer is that our software products help engineers test their designs and operations on their computers where the impact of failure is eliminated. While this is invaluable, it is a bit abstract. So let's get more specific and highlight some applications where safety is impacted.
AFT Impulse will be celebrating it's 20th anniversary later this year in November. I was the original software developer of AFT Impulse back in 1996 and was still actively writing code up through AFT Impulse 4. So AFT Impulse is near and dear to my heart. Within the next few days we will be releasing AFT Impulse 6 and it will have some new and extremely powerful graphing features (more on that below).
As we started to test the new graphing features we were concerned that users would struggle to access these features. So we came up with an idea that turned into the Graph Guide.
What is the Graph Guide, you ask? Well, in simple terms the Graph Guide is an interactive, hierarchical guide built into the Graph Results window which assists the user in creating, formatting and retaining simple and complicated graphs. When the user chooses what he/she wants to do, numbered "direction bubbles" appear on the screen to guide the user in accomplishing the task.
Borrowing a line from Mark Twain, the death of Moore's Law has been greatly exaggerated. Many times over the years. But have the death prognosticators gotten it right this time? And, if so, what will it mean for engineers?
In case you are one of the few technology industry citizens who is unfamiliar with Moore's Law, it is the observation that (in general terms) computing power doubles every two years.
As the fabrication processes to produce new chips have approached the atomic level, it has seemed pretty clear to many, including me, that Moore's Law cannot continue to hold. A recent article ("Moore’s law really is dead this time") asserts we are just about there.
Inventing. Innovating. Creating. Conceiving. Problem solving. Engineering.
The Super Bowl is in the books (won by our local Denver Broncos and their "Orange Rush") and the next big thing on the calendar is, of course...National Engineers Week. Yes, this week is "EWeek", the week where we celebrate engineering accomplishments and the engineers behind those accomplishments.
As history has shown - especially over the last century and a half - many things once considered impossible are now part of our daily lives. Flight. Space travel. Global communications. Those "giant leaps for mankind" are inspiring, for sure, while being mixed in with millions of smaller steps along the way.