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Slideshow: What I Learned in Engineering School

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naperlou
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who is the I?
naperlou   4/1/2014 1:00:35 PM
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Rob, at first I thought this would be stuff YOU learned in engineering school.  I was prepared to be amazed at your memoory (or imagination). 

As it is, there are some very good points made in the slide show.  I like the one about the roundabouts.  While living in the UK I got used to them and they are very good.  As applied here, not so much.  People are just not trained in how they work.

Slide 10 is something I am very knowledgeable about (for decades).  I did run into a book about UML for embedded systems where the author turns this on its head and talks about requirements defects having a big impact on development.  While this is true, it is easier to work with requirements and make changes than it is with code or silicon.

All in all, interesting stuff.

Charles Murray
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Charles Murray   4/1/2014 2:01:22 PM
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I learned a fair amount of math in engineering school -- four semesters of calculus, one semester of differential equations and one semester of vector calculus. So I was amazed, while working as a coop student in my first engineering job, to see a bunch of experienced engineers standing around one guy's desk, arguing about how to calculate the area under a curve. I suppose the lesson for me was that a lot of the things you learn in engineering school disappear into the gray matter after a few years.

richnass
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richnass   4/1/2014 2:22:16 PM
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I remember the part about the triangles, for sure. My roommate was a civil engineer and he was always telling me that one.

 

Not sure about the roundabouts, though. They keep replacinmg them here in NJ, citing how dangerous they are. I guess when you go from horse and buggy to a fast car, things change.

Rob Spiegel
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Rob Spiegel   4/1/2014 3:03:36 PM
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Yes, Naperlou, I thought these concepts were a lot of fun. Some are obvious when you think about it (like houses floating), but on first blush they seem counterintuitive.

Rob Spiegel
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Rob Spiegel   4/1/2014 3:06:37 PM
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Good point, Chuck. Did you find that all the math came in handy on a regular basis? Did it help as an intellectual exercise?

Rob Spiegel
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Rob Spiegel   4/1/2014 3:09:16 PM
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I know what you mean about roundabouts, Rich. The way I understand it, they were popular in Europe, so they were tried in the US. US drivers apparently hate them.

Charles Murray
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Charles Murray   4/1/2014 9:27:24 PM
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Rob: Although my engineering jobs used a lot of trig, algebra and geometry, I rarely used calculus (and certainly not differential equations) on the job.

Charles Murray
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Charles Murray   4/1/2014 9:31:46 PM
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I agree with you about roundabouts, Rich. They may reduce traffic, but I suspect you're right about the accidents. In my area of Chicago, we have only one roundabout that I know of, and the drivers at the intersection always seem confused.

Elizabeth M
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Elizabeth M   4/2/2014 5:50:58 AM
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On the roundabout point, I live in Portugal where we have lots of them. I learned to drive and spent most of my life driving in the states, so getting used to them was a bit strange. But I do think they are a lot better than traffic lights in terms of flow and the rate of accidents, as long as people use them correctly and also use turn signals properly. The lack of turn signals from drivers using roundabouts is one of my biggest pet peeves! But I think generallly they are better than alternatives.

Elizabeth M
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Elizabeth M   4/2/2014 5:52:05 AM
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See my previous comment, Chuck. I think Americans just don't know how to use them! Here in Europe traffic flows quite smoothly through roundabouts, though of course there are accidents sometimes.

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