Engineering Science

By definition Engineering Science is a discipline dealing with the art or science of applying scientific knowledge to practical problem.

In an undergraduate engineering curriculum Engineering Science is the basis for a thorough grounding of engineering basics for selected specialty in the senior years. The subject matter it encompasses is vast that involves the application of creative reasoning, science (physics/chemistry) and mathematics to real problems. In some university part of the engineering science subject are thoguht separately especially mathematics.

A good grounding in Engineering Science will reward learners with analytical skills, numeracy and practicality which will be of much use in engineering studies and professional engineering career later on.
Tags:

Design Engineer

Design Engineer is the term that is being used to describe an engineer that has been employed with focus on applying the engineering process. This covers multiple engineering disciplines including electrical, mechanical, chemical, civil and structural/building/architectural engineers. This uniting concept has made this career as a seemingly attractive proposition for engineering graduates from boutique engineering courses such as mechatronics.

Unlike Industrial Designers who may be responsible for conceptual aesthetics and ergonomics aspects of a design, the Design Engineer emphasis is on functional utility. The Design Engineer will work with a design team comprises of other engineers and other designers to develop conceptual and detail design of the product. The other engineers that may be included in the team are Planning Engineers who is more concern with Analysis of the process or product being developed and Test Engineer whose emphasis on evaluation and analysis of prototypes. Industrial Designers and Marketing personnel will also be involved in developing the product concept and specification. Manufacturing Engineer whose task is on how to mass produce the design is also a key personnel of the team.

As a Design Engineer, communication and teamwork are two essential skills required for the job. The Design Engineer have to good in the three areas of communication : communicate, negotiate and persuade. These are the key areas needed when Informing, Updating and Persuading colleagues and superiors. Depending on the organization reports will be in Oral or Written from, thus a Design Engineer need to be proficient in both.

The design process is information intensive and Design Engineers usually spend more than half their time engaged in various information gathering activities. Thus research skills is a core technical competence due to the critical nature required in discriminating the information gathered. This is on top of personal attributes, project management skills and cognitive abilities to succeed in the role.
  • Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

SMART Research Objectives

An important part of managing a research project is to set a clear and achievable objectives. This combined with a good problem statement will help to focus on the things that matter for the research. A good set of objectives will enable the researcher to articulate a comprehensive strategy (methodology) to solve the problem in hand.

Formulating research objectives will always start with the questions "What you actually want to achieve/solve/build in this research?". Solving a complex problem usually brings up a number of goals, complementary and non-complementary, which you will need to sort.

SMART model is a method to ensure that objectives that are written are well articulated and acceptable to examiners/evaluators/supervisors/reader etc.

Specific: Objectives should reveal exactly what the research will accomplish, and are written so that anyone can understand their purpose using jargon-free terms.

Measurable: Objectives should be written with specific measure to indicate that it is achieved.
.
Achievable: Objectives should be possible with the knowledge and skills that the researcher has.

Realistic: Objectives should be realistic within the available facilities, time, funding etc.

Time-Constrained: Objectives should have a clear cut deadlines on when it should be achieved.
  • Current Mood: working working

Methodology for Introduction Chapter

Discussing research methodology in introductory section of a report or dissertation is very much related to the problem statement that has been discussed. The discussion should include a summary of method for data collection, product/experiment design procedure and approach adopted in performance analysis used when solving the problem. In this section it is also important to highlight special or novel method used in the research.

As this is an introductory section of the report/thesis the summary should be concise and the full description of the methods and analysis should come later in the appropriate chapter. A good method to summarise the description is using a diagram or flowchart to describe sufficiently the methodology.

It is also very important of note here that the research methodology should answer the research objectives outlined earlier. One of a popular technique adopted technique by a number of candidates is in the use a direct relation between one objective and one methodology (one objective will relate to one specific methodology). However, methodology is very specific to the type of research undertaken and in some cases this technique might not be possible.

Another important point of note for this section is in ensuring that the section is brief, the description should avoid putting in any mathematical formula, algorithms and listing of equipment. However, if the research focuses on those, then one can describe on how the research utilise the formula/algorithm/equipment.

Problem Statement

In an introduction to research the Problem Statement sub-topic are meant to focus the attention of the reader/team to the actual problem to be solved. A problem statement should be a concise description of the issues (highlighted earlier in Introduction/Background) before research is done to solve the problem. The idea is to bring together/focus the research to a particular purpose.

A good problem statement should answer these questions:
a) What is the problem? This should explain why research need to be conducted in the area.
b) Who has the problem? This should explain who need the solution, thus creating the client/customer/market. This will also answer who will judge whether the problem has been solved.
c) Following on (b) then the research will know what can the resolution be which is what the client needs (tool, technology, algorithm, product feature, product etc.).
d) A problem statement will form the basis of scope and limitations (in time, money, resources, technologies etc.).

The primary focus of a problem statement is to narrow the attention of the research. The problem statement should answer the research question (but not the research questions itself!) and briefly describe research gaps. It has to be noted also that if the focus of the problem is too narrow then it will stifle the creativity and innovation of the solution.

In research, the problem statement is part of the research formulation. It list what is essential about the research and enable the researcher to identify the project scope as well as the interested parties. The research problem statement should address all six questions: what, how, when, why and who.

Introduction to Thesis/ Dissertation/ Report

I have seen various style of thesis introduction (in a sub-heading of Background etc.), some good and some not so good. So what I been thinking what can be generally considered as a good introduction to a thesis?

What is introduction to a thesis?

Thesis introduction is the first part of the thesis. Generally it will describe two specific areas:
(1) Introduction to the Title / Topic

(2) Motivation for the research

Therefore to achieve (1) it is very important at this section in the thesis, you emphasis on the key topics for your thesis. Leave out the general word such as design, development, study etc. as at this juncture you are emphasizing on the topic itself.

Next, after describing the main topic of research it is very important to describe to your reader on why you undertake this research (2). It is expected in this juncture for an engineering thesis for candidate can quote statistics etc. to strengthen the argument.

As this is not a literature review, the quotes can be taken from general publication that discuss the issues/topics. It is not expected in the introduction sub-topics for a candidate to discuss various solution taken, but enough emphasize must be given so a reader will understand on the importance of the research.

What makes a good introduction?
A good introduction will make a reader want to continue reading the thesis. After reading the introduction the reader will have some background on the topic and will understand why you choose to undertake the research.

And the introduction shouldn't be too long.

What next?
After introduction to the thesis, the next sub-heading will be Problem Statement.

Tips:
Many candidates find that it is easier to write the introduction after you complete the latter chapter of the thesis.
  • Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

Abstract Writing

Abstract is one section of the thesis / report /paper that is often been overlooked although it is one of the most important part of the document as most reader will tend to look at this section be Abstract is one section of the thesis and report that is often overlook although it is one of the most important part of the document as most reader will tend to look at this section before reading the rest of the text. Abstract usually acts as a summary of work already completed and due to that it is bein used by prospective readers to decide whether or not to read the entire text.

It is important than one spend some time thinking and drafting the abstract since the quality of this document often solely responsible for whether or not your paper/thesis is accepted for submission. The abstract is literally 'a firts impression' to the reader and audience one that must want to make positively.

Typically an informative abstract will need to answer these questions in 100-250 words:
a) Why did you do this study or project? (motivation)
b) What did you do and how? (methods)
c) What did you find? (results)
d) What do the findings means ? (conclusion)

If the thesis is about new methods or apparatus, you migt also need to highlight on:
a) What are the advantages of the methods and aparatus ?
b) How well does it work?

A good summary should answer tose questions well, if it does not then you might need to rewrite the abstract until it does.
fore reading the rest of the text. Abstract usually acts as a summary of work already completed and due to that it is being used by prospective readers to decide whether or not to read the entire text.

It is important than one spend some time thinking and drafting the abstract since the quality of this document often solely responsible for whether or not your paper/thesis is accepted for submission. The abstract is literally 'a first impression' to the reader and audience one that must want to make positively.

Typically an informative abstract will need to answer these questions in 100-250 words:
a) Why did you do this study or project? (motivation)
b) What did you do and how? (methods)
c) What did you find? (results)
d) What do the findings means ? (conclusion)

If the thesis is about new methods or apparatus, you migt also need to highlight on:
a) What are the advantages of the methods and aparatus ?
b) How well does it work?

A good summary should answer those questions well, if it does not then you might need to rewrite the abstract until it does. A good time to write the abstract will be just after you have outlined the thesis/report/paper where everthing is 'fresh'.

A point of nite that in this section grammatical and spelling mistakes is not acceptable. So get someone to proofread your abstract before submitting them.

be yourself with skill

be yourself' is a phrase used often by counsellors, friends and others who wish you well. It is rightly so
However many of these well wishers forget to add the second part of be yourself, ' with skill' is another important element when you want to be yourself.what is ' be yourself with skill means'?
It is a skill acquired when you understand your own self, what is your shortcoming and what is your highlights.
It sound easy but unfortunately it is one skill that is very hard to acquire since it require belief to achieve that.
Why belief? Belief is one important element in oneself that make everything possible. To he youself with skill you need to understand yourself and prepare to accept what you are. When you can achieve that the journey to be yourself with skill can start.

Posted via m.livejournal.com.

Tags:

Robot Competition

Recently I have been invited to be the judge for MRSM Robofair, an annual robot competition for MRSM student with 8 other robot enthusiast.

During the competition and whilst observing the student, I find that the sparks one always see from this type of competition seem to be missing from the whole affair. After giving some thought, here I pen down my thoughts on my observation.

Robotic competition has been introduced to the public with some deviation from science fair competition in the 1980's. Robotic competition is solely dedicate to robotics, and student will compete in a standard competition (similar kind of robot), problem based competition (similar kind of problem) and creative based competition (exhibition type).

The whole objective of the competition is to find a fun way of introducing robotics (concept) to the students and promotion robotics to the public. The competition will also harness the competitive spirit of the student thus finding elusive, creative and novel way to solve a problem.

However, in this competition I find that many students look at it as another examination. The methodical and procedural approaches taken by the group of student to solve the problem do not capture the spirit of the competition. As a result students seems to be 'robotic' and do not show the 'spark' that what the educationist in us felt missing in this competition.

I like to propose in the future year, a camp to be conducted prior to the competition. In this camp there should be lots of activity for the students and teachers to be with robotic technology. There should programme to promote or create a team spirit where students and teachers can work as a team to create the best possible invention.

Then work can start on developing the robots for competition.

Career Conotations

I have the chance to give a closing note on a recent career talk held here recently, and this has come into my mind.

A career or to those children is still an ambition are mired by perception. A career such as lawyers and politicians has a negative perceptions. There is even a joke for lawyers are latin for liars! (which is not true of course), and politics have always been dirty.

Why? Its due to the fact that both careers depends on propagating half-truths and half-lies. They twist the facts according to their needs (client) or what people what to hear (voters). The more successful politicians and lawyers are the one who have the ability to spin the truth and massage the data accordingly.

As an engineer I frankly a bit confused, as I do rely on accurate facts coming from validated sensor data to make decisions. An engineers work is to ensure that the sensors work in a precise manner, signal to be conditioned accordingly to ensure that the right data can be obtained for analysis. If you get all the variables correct then a correct decision can be made else...

In this day an age, the spinners work to create the impression that half truths and and half lies are the correct and full information. Previously, one need to have specialized skilled in journalism to be able to be 'spinners'. However, in this generation one need only to be able to write a sentence (tweet) or a paragraph (facebook) to propagate the beliefs. Era of a decent article has long passed and one is free to publish whatever they like. Its not about the 'spin' skill anymore, its about who said it louder

And engineers shudders at the current reality....
Tags: