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Re: [SEAOC] Computer Applications

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Let me get my 2 cents in:

Chris Wright said:

>I think it's a waste of time to concentrate on anything but
>the basic elements of FEA in an undergraduate environment.

I have to agree, but that should also include a graduate environment also.
 We have no idea if the kind of computers we have now are the same kind that
will be in use 20 years from now, so specializing in the current fad may not
be the wisest thing to do..  But the fundamentals of FEA will not change, and
that is what should be taught.

>For this you
>don't need large-scale software like STAAD or ANSYS, and the process of
>learning such programs obviates any but the most trivial demo problems
>anyway.

Exposure to large scale software should be done, but only to point how how
such software addresses FEA fundamentals, not "how to fill out the cards" (I
assume that if the undergraduate can understand FEA principles, then they can
read about how to fill out the cards).  Also, any exposure to such software
should include problems that illustrate unpublished bugs (so that the new
user is not intimidated) and problems that typically waste the practicing
engineer's time, such as how ill conditioning can screw up a result or how to
identify the cause of a zero on the diagonal during decomposition.

Ray Pixley
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