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Putting mathematics to use

Putting mathematics to use

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This chapter puts forward the view that theories are central to any engineering discipline that wishes to be scientific. Further, any formalisation of these theories will provide useful analytical power and insights, together with the provision of a precise shared language for communication between engineers. It should be noted, however, that the use of theories need not always be self-conscious. Highly experienced engineers may well continue to apply the results of analysis, and exploit the insights, founded on theories long forgotten. This is a good thing, in the sense that it increases productivity, but it may also lead to failures where technology changes without subsequent re-examination of the underlying theories, and also lost opportunities in applying new theories leading to improved solutions. Finding a safe and sensible middle-ground is another aspect of the professional judgement of the engineer. There are a number of barriers to the widespread adoption of this theoretically based software engineering.

Inspec keywords: mathematics; software engineering; productivity

Other keywords: re-examination; engineering discipline; productivity; software engineering; mathematics; communication language

Subjects: Mathematical techniques; Software engineering techniques

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