Friday, September 18, 2009

Engineers' Way

An engineer is an engineering professional concerned with developing economical and safe solutions to practical problems, by applying mathematics and scientific knowledge while considering technical constraints. That's what Wiki says about an Engineer.

Engineers have sculpted this world the way we wanted and as always, we are hungry for new stuff (Necessity is the mother of invention, you see).And No doubt, everthing you imagine is going to get materialised in the near future. Don't worry... this is not going to be on those hi-fi stuff that the engineers have given this world. This is about the day-to-day things that an Engineer will apply himself. And somebody might ask...I did Mechanical but typing out J2EE codes at XYZ now. And the answer is, Irrespective of the branch you belong and the occupation you are at, There is this Engineers' way of looking at and doing things, I beleive. There will be a considerable individuality in the way an engineer looks around and imagines stuff.

I just spurt out a few things I have noted in me (peruma !!!) and my friends, all these years that has an engineer's touch. Me being an Electronics engineer, this article might be electronics centric but you can always post a comment on how you looked at things :)

So feel proud and read ahead !!!

Search of a term in a book - You will always head towards the index pages at the end of the book, rather than looking into a chapter banking on the familiarity of that chapter in the book.

Deletion of a file in Computer
- You always know deletion is all about losing the address of a pointer to the first memory location of that file. So, shift-del shouldn't take more than a second but simple deletion will create a replica of that file in the recycle bin - so it takes some time.

Laptop batteries
- You know a laptop battery should be used in proper "full charge-full discharge" cycles. I always imagine it to be capacitors charging and discharging - though it might not be exactly what is happening in a battery. But, Its the way you look at things, that matter.

Digital Speedometer
- I have seen people complaining the accuracy of the digital speedometer in motorbikes and the superiority of Analog speedometers over digital ones. But I always think it is "Rotation of the wheel - transducer - Analog to Digital Conversion – Digital Signal Processing - Display" in real time. You never feel like complaining about it anymore, Right ?.After all, It’s always about getting better every iteration.

– There are instances we discussed how Induction stove works on field principles, eddy currents and all that. It might not be exactly correct but we throw in some techie terms and derive an understanding of it.

Railway Stations & Traffic Signals – Anybody with a knowledge of Finite State Machine (FSM) will realise “it’s not a big deal to design one of those red-green-yellow-light systems” around. After all, it’s only a FSM and We know what it is !!!

Computer Hangs
– After working in a ASIC design & Verification environment, I never felt angry when my computer hangs. We are simply aware of how complex the system is...

You watch a movie – seek it to some point – it takes a fraction of a second to resume playing – You realise “Linked list” there.

You have the same set of speakers – But VLC player provides a 400 % volume but the other media players weren’t that loud. You can always google and find the VLC’s technology but I always try to associate it with a loop structure. The more number of times it loops, the more volume it provides. This might be an absurd imagination – But you have started imagining which is supposed to be the purpose of Education.

Flow of signals through an interconnect wire – has always been so magical to me and they suggest a new thing every while.

A plug socket or a tap or an electric stove isn’t working – Instead of panic-ing around and call a technician, you start looking through what’s happening and try to solve it on your own.

Resistive heating, fan regulators, watches, Neon lamps all will convey an engineering sense to you, unknowingly... Even if you don’t give it a thought.

No, I am not saying that you should look everything around with a scientific eye and catch some engineering sense out of it. That way, you lose the beauty of life. You can’t obviously discuss geostationary stuff and Neil Armstrong to your girlfriend who expects some poetic discussions from you on “Moon”. And, my point is this ... Unconsciously you will have that engineering sense in you. Courtesy: Your Engineering degree.

So, this is what I feel is the purpose of Engineering Education, kickstarting the Imagination and creativity. And every Engineer will have it nurtured in him unknowingly and unnoticeably.

This post was supposed to be published on the Engineer’s day, 15th of September (Sir M.Visweswaraya’s birthday). It’s a bit late ... :)

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