Thursday, June 17, 2004

Creative Engineering

An ongoing discussion in my Software Engineering classes is what is engineering and what is science. Often students will express the opinion that science is creative and engineering follows rules. Most engineers and scientists would contest such strong distinctions. For example, the University of Oxford has this remark in their Engineering Science description, "The qualities of a good engineer include not only a high degree of technical competence but also imagination, strength of purpose, commonsense - and a social conscience." This is a terrific description.

I would be interested in your opinion. What is your definition of Engineering Science? Is it the science of: design, build, test? What differentiates science and engineering? I realize these are cosmic questions but the discussion arises in almost every class I teach in Software Engineering in the Computer Science Department, so it is clear that many are wresling with these concepts and any insight on the topic would be appreciated.

Thanks and later!

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