Specification and Evaluation of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) Systems
The functional activity of engineering as it is performed today consists largely of a series of manual machinations supported by a computer, within what is increasingly an information management environment. However, current developments in data processing technology clearly indicate a virtual revolution in the way that such engineering activities will be performed in the future. These developments include the emergence of integrated Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) systems.
For the purposes of this paper, an integrated CAE system is considered as the linking of stand-alone application software packages directly into a suitable Data Base Management System (DBMS), where the DBMS provides access to appropriate engineering and other reference data bases.
The potential benefits to be derived from such an integrated CAE system are the ability to significantly improve both the productivity and quality of the engineering service being performed; hopefully at an economic cost. However, experience with such systems to date have not proved an unqualified success, and caution is prudent if Computer Aided Anarchy is to be avoided.
This paper identifies those issues and criteria that are considered significant in the initial development of a specification for a CAE system; and in the subsequent evaluation and selection of such a system; in order to maximise the prospect of successful implementation. The content of this paper is based upon experience gained during a recent CAE evaluation carried out by Fluor (Great Britain) Limited, and any opinions or conclusions expressed or implied are the author’s personal opinion.
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