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Engineering - Robotics | Ways of Thinking, Ways of Seeing - Mathematical and other Modelling in Engineering and Technology

Ways of Thinking, Ways of Seeing

Mathematical and other Modelling in Engineering and Technology

Bissell, Chris, Dillon, Chris (Eds.)

2012, XIV, 234 p.

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  • Fascinating book examining the characteristics of technological/engineering models
  • Shows the role of mathematics and modelling as a bridging tool between disciplines
  • Written by leading experts in the field
This fascinating book examines some of the characteristics of technological/engineering models that are likely to be unfamiliar to those who are interested primarily in the history and philosophy of science and mathematics, and which differentiate technological models from scientific and mathematical ones. Themes that will be highlighted include:

• the role of language: the models developed for engineering design have resulted in new ways of talking about technological systems
• communities of practice: related to the previous point, particular engineering communities have particular ways of sharing and developing knowledge
• graphical (re)presentation: engineers have developed many ways of reducing quite complex mathematical models to more simple representations
• reification: highly abstract mathematical models are turned into ‘objects’ that can be manipulated almost like components of a physical system
• machines: not only the currently ubiquitous digital computer, but also older analogue devices – slide rules, physical models, wind tunnels and other small-scale simulators, as well as mechanical, electrical and electronic analogue computers
• mathematics and modelling as a bridging tool between disciplines

This book studies primarily modelling in technological practice. It is worth noting that models of the type considered in the book are not always highly valued in formal engineering education at university level, which often takes an “applied science” approach close to that of the natural sciences (something that can result in disaffection on the part of students). Yet in an informal context, such as laboratories, industrial placements, and so on, a very different situation obtains. A number of chapters will consider such epistemological aspects, as well as the status of different types of models within the engineering education community.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Mathematical Modelling in Engineering and Technology

Related subjects » Applications - Computational Intelligence and Complexity - Robotics

Table of contents 

Creating reality.- Dimensional analysis and dimensional reasoning.- Models: what do engineers see in them?.- Metatools for information engineering design.- Early computational modelling: physical models, electrical analogies and analogue computers.- Expanding the concept of ‘model’: the transfer from technological to human domains within systems.- Visualisations for understanding complex economic systems.- The inner world of models and its epistemic diversity: infectious disease and climate modelling.- Modelling with experience: construal and construction for software.

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