||This article or section appears to contradict itself. (January 2013)|
The term multi-disciplinary engineering (MDE) describes an interdisciplinary process on a highly cross-professional level. It summons a much higher number of areas for integration than common interdisciplinary, or system integrated projects. In these areas the combination of two different fields of knowledge, rarely more than four are achieved. Sometimes even MDE is falsely used to describe the combination of only two or three fields. But there are challenges that require the evaluation and fusion of dozens, or even more than a hundred fields.
When resources similar to an ordinary project are applied for an MDE process, it results in a less detailed, but much broader evaluation of the task. This can prevent blank spots in early planning processes and it is indispensable for the enhancement of planning efficiency. It also helps to find the best solution apart from any regimentation or constraints that professions, or experts usually have.
The term is an expression of quality. Principally it is the same like systems engineering but on a level that is yet uncommon in the industry. A level that is equipped to meet the criteria for a positive material input per unit of service. The MIPS concept is the only concept at hand that has the ability to regard all aspects of a project and deliver a holistic ecological analysis.
Broad arrays of different engineering fields are simultaneously considered in the planning stage of a civil engineering project. But all of these areas are adjacent to each other. For instance the structural analysis, construction physics, inherent material science, actual construction course and logistics are all members of a rather small group. A difference would be the simultaneous consideration of areas distributed over the professions of the engineers involved and the architects, landscape architects, maintenance specialist, utility-provider and e.g. a scientist rendering the life cycle balance of the project. Such an Multidisciplinary approach cross all borders of different professions could be regarded as MDE. This level of integration has the potential to solve problems on a level adequate for the environmental and economic challenges, reaching highest degrees of efficiency and leading into sustainability.
MDE is a term that stands for quality, not for any particular procedure. The quality depends on certain factors:
- the grade of difference between the disciplines
- the number of disciplines
- the resources used for integration (time, experts etc.)
In order to apply the MDE approach, the individual experts need to go through a very unusual, prolonged period of broad-scale learning. The MDE method faces the challenge of unifying different scientific languages in order to make it possible for a group of engineers to communicate, or to forge the different data sets, equations etc. together as simple as possible.