Computational engineering

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Simulation of an experimental engine

Computational Engineering is an emerging discipline that deals with the development and application of computational models for engineering, known as Computational Engineering Models[1] or CEM. Computational engineering uses computers to solve engineering design problems important to a variety of industries.[2] At this time, various different approaches are summarized under the term Computational Engineering, including using computational geometry and virtual design for engineering tasks,[3][4] often coupled with a simulation-driven approach[5] In Computational Engineering, algorithms solve mathematical and logical models[6] that describe engineering challenges, sometimes coupled with some aspect of AI, specifically Reinforcement Learning.[7]

In Computational Engineering the engineer encodes their knowledge using logical structuring. The result is an algorithm, the Computational Engineering Model, that can produce many different variants of engineering designs, based on varied input requirements. The results can then be analyzed through additional mathematical models to create algorithmic feedback loops.[8]

Simulations of physical behaviors relevant to the field, often coupled with high-performance computing, to solve complex physical problems arising in engineering analysis and design (as well as natural phenomena (computational science). It is therefore related to Computational Science and Engineering, which has been described as the "third mode of discovery" (next to theory and experimentation).[9]

In Computational Engineering, computer simulation provides the capability to create feedback that would be inaccessible to traditional experimentation or where carrying out traditional empirical inquiries is prohibitively expensive.

Computational Engineering should neither be confused with pure computer science, nor with computer engineering,[10] although a wide domain in the former is used in Computational Engineering (e.g., certain algorithms, data structures, parallel programming, high performance computing) and some problems in the latter can be modeled and solved with Computational Engineering methods (as an application area).

It is typically offered as a masters or doctorate program.[11]


Computational Engineering methods and frameworks include:

  • High performance computing and techniques to gain efficiency (through change in computer architecture, parallel algorithms etc.)
  • Modeling and simulation
  • Algorithms for solving discrete and continuous problems
  • Analysis and visualization of data
  • Mathematical foundations: Numerical and applied linear algebra, initial & boundary value problems, Fourier analysis, optimization
  • Data Science for developing methods and algorithms to handle and extract knowledge from large scientific data

With regard to computing, computer programming, algorithms, and parallel computing play a major role in Computational Engineering. The most widely used programming language in the scientific community is FORTRAN.[12] Recently, C++ and C have increased in popularity over FORTRAN. Due to the wealth of legacy code in FORTRAN and its simpler syntax, the scientific computing community has been slow in completely adopting C++ as the lingua franca. Because of its very natural way of expressing mathematical computations, and its built-in visualization capacities, the proprietary language/environment MATLAB is also widely used, especially for rapid application development and model verification. Python along with external libraries (such as NumPy, SciPy, Matplotlib) has gained some popularity as a free and Copycenter alternative to MATLAB.

Open Source Movement[edit]

There are a number of Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) tools that support Computational Engineering.


A numerical solution to the heat equation on a pump casing model using the finite element method.

Computational Engineering finds diverse applications, including in:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Computational Engineering Models for the Design of Mechanical Counterpressure Spacesuits". 2022-12-21. Archived from the original on 2022-12-21. Retrieved 2023-06-27.
  2. ^ "What is Computational Engineering?". Retrieved 2023-09-20.
  3. ^ "Research Area: Computational Engineering | Mechanical Engineering". Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  4. ^ "Computational engineering". Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  5. ^ "Research Area: Computational Engineering | Mechanical Engineering". Retrieved 2023-02-27.
  6. ^ Editorial Staff (2021-12-24). "What is Computational Engineering? • College Guidepost". College Guidepost. Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  7. ^ "What Is Computational Engineering?".
  8. ^ Editorial Staff (2021-12-24). "What is Computational Engineering? • College Guidepost". College Guidepost. Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  9. ^ "Computational Science and Engineering Program: Graduate Student Handbook" (PDF). September 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-14. Retrieved 2012-04-08.
  10. ^ "What is Computational Engineering?". Retrieved 2023-09-20.
  11. ^ "Graduate and Undergraduate Programs in Computational Science". SIAM. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  12. ^ "Why is fortran extensively used in scientific computing and not any other language?". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  13. ^ "About PicoGK | LEAP 71". Retrieved 2023-11-20.

External links[edit]