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From my viewpoint the discussion is, to a large extent,
about the method of carrying out stress/strength
calculations, be it hand calc (HC) or computer-aided (CA).
 
I use very advanced FEA but I also work and publish
in improving HC, although this is mainly dynamics.
This is because of all the advances, HC still has its place.
 
Sometimes I am asked how to distinguish an engineer
who knows which end is up from one that merely makes a good show.
One way to tell is to ask the candidate how a particular
chain of calculations is performed. If the answer is
“we have a computer code” and this is a blank statement,
be very cautious. He should still know, to a reasonable detail,
how it is done inside the code. (I do not mean programming itself.)
 
The more sophisticated the code, the more knowledge
one must have to properly interpret the results.
This manifests itself (numberwise) by the engineer’s ability
to do simplified HC relating to that.
 
On a couple of occasions I suggested a simple test of
a candidate’s competence. After he delivers his impressive
CA presentation, ask him: “how much of it could you do
if I took your computer away?”
 
If he is stunned, do not bother with him.
But if his answer is “most of it can be done by HC,
but it would take much more time and wouldn’t be
nearly as accurate” then he is OK.
 
I was asked by my journalist friend to write an article
on a related subject. It will be ready in a few weeks.
Let me know if you want a copy.
 
Sincerely, Gregory
(FROM DOWN UNDER)