To make the International Space Station (ISS) viable, engineers use a variety of engineering optimization techniques and engineering tools to make sure the station can support astronauts and carry out its mission. Engineering optimization is now a key linchpin in the success of 21st-century technology.
The use of probability and statistics in engineering is one way to achieve engineering optimization. In the real world of engineering, engineers apply concepts, models, and methodologies to a multitude of engineering situations and challenges. Probability and statistics help engineers make better sense of the world, and with today’s statistical software packages, solid perspectives on engineering challenges are easier than ever to work out.
The Importance of Engineering Optimization Techniques
In addition to probability and statistics, today’s engineers use classical and new optimization methods across a wide variety of industries to deal with complex engineering challenges. Dynamic, geometric, linear, nonlinear, and stochastic programming techniques are used along with multi-objective, fuzzy optimization, genetic algorithms, neural networks, particle swarm optimization, ant colony optimization, simulated annealing, and many more.
To utilize these techniques, engineers must formulate numerical problems by translating engineering challenges into a precise mathematical language. Once this is achieved, numerical problems can be solved using software such as Matlab. A list of optimization software can be found here.
Engineers today benefit from working on a number of complex problems and reviewing case studies. The end result is the creation of efficient algorithms that help transform complex engineering problems into more manageable forms. In the old days, engineers used spreadsheets for optimization modeling, but that is no longer necessary.
Engineers use optimization thinking and technology to improve mission-critical refrigeration and HVAC systems, medical devices, automated cars, real-time surveillance equipment optical systems, oil and gas facilities, and in consumer technology such as smart building technology. Engineering optimization techniques and technology are also becoming an important part of renewable energy technologies, making them more efficient and reducing air pollution.
The following video from “SmartWatt: The Optimization Experts” explains how the company optimizes energy systems.