- "Oh, so your MSc was in Computer Science?"
- "What's the difference between your MSc and Computer Engineering? Is it not the same?"
- "Have you moved away from engineering to Computer Science now?"
So, what is Computational Engineering?
Computational Engineering deals with the development and application of computational models and simulations to solve complex physical problems arising in engineering. It involves applying advanced computational methods and analysis and often involves high-performance computing (HPC).
Here some nice descriptions of the differences between computer science, computer engineering and computational engineering :
- A Computer Scientist explores the science and theory of how computers work, formulating algorithms and designing programming languages
- A Computer Engineer takes the foundation of electrical engineering and applies it specifically to computers, focusing on the design of hardware and software components
- A Computational Engineer uses computers and devises algorithms to solve mathematical models for complex systems, simulates behaviours and analyses simulation output
My own Computational Engineering experience coming from a Mechanical Engineering background has primarily involved computational fluid dynamics (CFD), computational solid mechanics and computational biofluids (both in my MSc and PhD). The subjects that I studied during my MSc were:
- Computational Fluid Dynamics
- Finite Element Analysis
- Numerical Methods for ODEs and PDEs
- Engineering Systems Simulation
- Advanced Dynamics with Applied Computer Modelling
- Computer Graphics and Modelling
- Computer Aided Engineering & Design
- Algorithms & Data Structures
- Database Systems
- Java Programming
An understanding of how to use computers to solve engineering problems effectively along with a knowledge of programming are increasingly sought after skills. If any of the above appeals to you, I would highly recommend looking into Computational Engineering further (and Mechanical Engineering is a great base)!