June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Design in Engineering Education
12.461.1 - 12.461.12
Design of Thermal Systems Using Optimization and Metaheuristic Methods
The goal of an engineering education is the preparation of the engineers to solve industrial-type problems that are ill-structured, complex, and contain multiple constraints. One way to provide this type of problem solving environment in an academic environment is to use problem-based learning based on industry-supplied problems. A proposed course in thermal system design, for advanced undergraduates and graduate students, which uses a problem-based approach to teaching thermal system design is described. This proposed course uses operations research methods in a team-based problem solving environment that simulates an industrial setting.
The purpose of an engineering education is to prepare the participating learners to solve industrial-type problems upon graduation. The types of problems that engineers face after graduation are ill-structured, complex, contain multiple (and sometimes conflicting) constraints, and have non-engineering limitations. Solving the typical classroom type word problems does not always work in terms of preparing the learner to solve these industrial-type problems1.
To obtain an idea of what types of traits existed in industrial-type problems 106 practicing Professional Engineers, primarily civil engineers, in Missouri were interviewed1. Of these 106 interviews 78 were used to develop the following common traits of industrial problems:
1) Workplace problems are ill-structured. 2) Ill-structured problems include aggregates of well-structured problems. 3) Ill-structured problems have multiple, often conflicting goals. 4) Ill-structured problems are solved in many different ways. 5) Success is rarely measured by engineering standards. 6) Most constraints are non-engineering. 7) Problem solving knowledge is distributed among team members. 8) Most problems require extensive collaboration. 9) Engineers primarily rely on experiential knowledge. 10) Engineering problems often encounter unanticipated problems. 11) Engineers use multiple forms of problem representation.
During this interviewing process many of the practicing engineers recommended additional instruction for learners on client interaction, collaboration, communication, oral presentations, writing activities, and dealing with complexity and ambiguity1.
One way to provide learners the opportunity to experience industrial-type problems in an academic environment is to use problem-based learning (PBL)1. In PBL the problem is provided to the learners then they must decide what knowledge needs to be acquired to solve the problem. This is typical of the industrial environment, a customer problem is provided and the practicing
Jones, J., & Goff, R., & Terpenny, J. (2007, June), Design Of Thermal Systems Using Optimization And Metaheuristic Methods Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2665
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