Grand Challenges for Engineering - Dec 09, 2013
Where would you go? What would you investigate? What tools would you need to do so? Engineers are creating tools to take us where we dream of exploring.
I would explore the cosmos looking for signs of life or explore the possibilities of black holes. I would try to harvest energy from beams of energy projected from pulsars.
Is there a term for an approach to scientific research that prioritizes or steers research in directions related to the things engineers would love to know in order to be able to solve problems currently just out of reach because of unanswered scientific questions? In other words, an incremental program using engineering possibilities as a reference to ask scientific questions related to the next most-doable engineering breakthrough. Or in the other direction, using engineers’ expertise to help determine what might be the next most-answerable purely scientific questions…
It seems to me that this kind of approach would tend to provide some discipline in areas where pure research may tend to wander off into unproductive directions – string theory and related concepts in theoretical physics come to mind here – where the theories produced can’t even be tested.
I’m fairly sure that the approach I’m describing here is already practiced. I’m just wondering whether or not there is some more-or-less philosophical term for it.
I recognize also that the engineering-oriented approach can’t usefully be applied in some areas of research or discovery (or when it can be applied in those, it’s in much more limited ways) – it would not have been much use to Darwin or Galileo.
I also wonder about how much of what we now recognize as solid (unlikely to be overturned) scientific knowledge was produced in an engineering environment or with an engineering motivation, either by professionals or amateur tinkerers. One sufficient proof of any scientific theory is its application in some kind of problem-solving technology.
I would explore ways to engineer society, ways to create a more suitable framework for humanity to live in. This would entail creating better ways to make power, creating suitable and efficient habitation, and rethinking the very structure of society and the ways it fonctions.
I cant find anywhere to expllore
First of all I want to state that we will never run out of places or things to explore. There is so much out there that by the time we have explore and analyzed everything time it self would probably be over. so my point is that I would like to explore anything and everything I can before my time is over.
I want to explore social search clusters. the origins of searching, trends.. and why do we all start to search the exact things???
I don’t now where to begin I believe if we are to advance in the field of educating people we must first let them know we are in the business to educate and not entertain although being gifted or just having an eye for things is great this is something you just shouldn’t have to stumble upon and then actively seek it out now if this this were a secret then let it stay that and actively seek out the people who get it I believe it times to come from the shadows and be honest out what the expectations and concerns are when it comes to the curiosity we have with society the reality not everyone is going to get it or even care. My thoughts for now. Mr. J
Well my name is matthew diang and im on this very fascinating website at twelve years old and my perspective is we have to look at this at two diffrent precsice angles.I would like to be an aerospace engineer by the age of 30 .but for now we have to fix what we have devouerd swallowed and spit out called this earth.We need alternative energy's and people to discover them and people to learn to use them but im just a kid what do i know...........
There is always undiscovered territory out there somewhere!
I would like to develop a exchange where people that know a subject extremely well but do not know how to use it for a practical reason. There are extremely knowledgeable, extremely creative, extremely practical people in the world. The problem is they are not one person. I want to bring all this vast group of people together and solve problems. I would create a social web site where ideas interact. “The face book of science”
He, like a great design and craetor of many projects I can say that my brains running at 200% continuous full field ale. I would like to medragen expantie of brain abnormalities where there is as to conscientious wijnig ADHD Borderline etc.
we know only 20% of what our brains can so 80% is noptelossen by hipnoze + electro analyze of brain waves we are able to express feelings without a word or move to the other side of the world as twins that still have .
I think if we make the right freqenty severals of thinking and work patterns can trrug during the implementation of our brains far simplifies everything will be better communication between two beings.
Hy,als een groot design- en craetor van veel projecten kan ik zeggen dat mijn hersenen 200% full continu draaien op ale gebied.
ik wil wel medragen aan de expantie van de hersenafwijkingen waar nog wijnig van geweten is zoals ADHD Borderline enz.
wij weten nog maar 20% van wat ons hersenen kunnen dus 80% is noptelossen door hipnoze + electro analyze van brainewaves wij waaren in staat om gevoelens te uiten zonder één woord of beweging tot aan de ander kant van de wereld zoals tweelingen dat nu nog hebben.
ik denk als we de juiste freqenty heben van verschilende denk- werk patronen en deze trrug kunnen inplementeren in onze hersenen zal alles ver eenvoudigt worden voor een betere communicatie tussen twee wezens.
Hi, As an engineer, I'm excited to be a part of pursuing these challenges. I think NAE has done a great job putting together this list. Furthermore, my PhD research (under way) is in computational plasma science with a focus on fusion science. So, I'm glad to see fusion on the list. I do think, however, that fission science is conspicuously missing. Carbon sequestration would be nice. In my opinion, it has unacceptably high uncertainty when the health of the entire Earth ecosystem is at stake. (Not to mention the concern about various non-CO2 toxic emissions from coal power plants.) I think refining fission energy production technology would be higher on my list than carbon sequestration. I know you couldn't include everything on the list, but this is my two cents. Eric
We need to push for realism in our computer simulations - allowing us to engineer chemical, biochemical and material science solutions with self-assembly. In November 2002, the NITRD Task Force was charged to update the HPCC grand challenges for science and engineering. The report, reprinted for the third time in November 2006, identified sixteen Illustrative Grand Challenges and fourteen IT Hard Problem Areas ( see http://www.nitrd.gov/pubs /200311_grand_challenges. pdf ). The IT Hard Problem area defined as "Algorithms and Applications" (e.g., Modeling and Simulations) is identified as a highly needed solution (in fourteen out of sixteen Illustrative Grand Challenges). An important point here is that one of the most pressing problems for HPC is not computer hardware [including their operating system (OS) software development], but a lack of scientific "Algorithms and Applications" to run on them. Supercomputing for engineering needs better scientific software -- a continuing problem. The first task at hand should be to address the realism problem with simulation methods (e.g., molecular dynamics) by developing a neural algorithm to perform as a feedback mechanism from the real world of experiment to the model world of simulation. Realism implies realistic forces and force parameters. Ideally, if all forces were correct, simulations would be real because the mode mechanics would be real and consequently, self-assembly would be real. If we solve the realism problem we will solve a very broad problem with a very high impact solution. We need to create a "computational microscope" to help control the self-assembly technique of engineering.
"Someone needs to develop a metadata standard for the engineering sciences like they have for the biological sciences. "
Someone needs to develop a metadata standard for the engineering sciences like they have for the biological sciences. A few years ago, I searched for such a standard. None existed at that time and no one was working on any that I spoke with. Standardizing the way web documents in engineering are indexed would go a long way in helping engineers locate the information they need.
The computer has not begun to live up to its original promise. Manufacturing large numbers of digital computers, connecting them together and using them as complex communications terminals has yielded many benefits. It seems though that we've lost the vision of modeling engineering systems problems with mathematical equations then solving these equations using numerical approximations. Maybe we live in a "Moore's Law Universe" where the entirety of the potential of computers will only be realized through clever new programming, simulation, creative design and innovative interfaces for digital VonNeumann machines. Then again maybe this exciting artistic period is prelude and creation of a means of creating input to new electronic devices that will be able to accept a mathematical function as input, operate on it and return the result of the operation precisely controlled and interpreted by digital systems.
Batteries to propel electric vehicles. Did GM have a battery designed, developed, tested and accepted some time ago?
The United States justice system has a 29% failure rate in one mode. See "Implementation of the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980" A Report to the Chief Justice. Please join me in my investigation of the effects upon international and intorpersonal security and consequent medical conditions, some epidemic. We need a court interface that is reliable, customized, automated, secure, operable, maintainable and accessible to the ever-growing population in need.
"By reducing vehicular traffic we will reduce our consumption of dwindling supplies of non-renewable resources..."
The most important challenge is to reevaluate how people move throughout the US. The US clearly needs new roads and bridges to support our existing and future populations. Now is a great time to develop a sustainable and long-term transportation model. We need to improve the health of Americans and our environment by reducing vehicular traffic, encouraging bicycling nationwide and increasing the use of new and existing (but abandoned) rail systems. By reducing vehicular traffic we will reduce our consumption of dwindling supplies of non-renewable resources, reduce pollution and set an example for other countries. Also, by encouraging Americans to get out of their cars and onto their bikes, we can help tackle that obesity issue too. China is currently emulating our unsustainable and inefficient transportation model by building thousands of miles of roads. Soon they, like us, will have everyone in a car driving to and from. Whether we like it or not, as the world leader, we set examples that others follow. If the US adopts a sustainable, long-term transportation model, our country will be cleaner, healthier and safer and other countries will likely take note.
"The key to the future of life and earth seems to be in exploring the oceans and the land that lies beneath."
Three fourths of our planet is oceanic. The one fourth dry land is sustained by the oceans, which also hide the remaining three fourths of land of this planet.What would earth be had there been no oceans and only dry land? Outer space exploration has immense curiosity and mystery attached to it. But is it ultimately going to be viable and cost- effective vis-a-vis survival & sustenance of both humans and our planet? The only good spin-offs of space research seem to be commercial and military. The speed with which changes are taking place on this planet may be too fast to interpret and extrapolate, and by the time space exploration reaps any measurable benefits for the human race and mankind, it might be too late. The key to the future of life and earth seems to be in exploring the oceans and the land that lies beneath. Long live Gaea.
All to often the political climate intrfears with what is good and useful. If it can put money in someones pocket it must be good or at least that seems to be the goal. Science is the way we need to turn for our answers. We need not worry if it is cost effective at the time only will it work. We explore the worlds around us and spend millions on sending probes to other planets and we spend less on healing the ills of the world we live in becuase it is not profitable in some cases so people die waiting for a cure or a drug that no one will produce because it will not make them enough money and that is sad. We need to explore the other world and we need to look beyond just our little corner of the universe but we do not need to let people starve, or die from an illness that is rare becuse it is not profitable to fix it. We do not need to let people drink water that kills them because we can not make money from it. That is so short sighted. Each life lost is a consumer gone and each society that colapses is thousands of people at risk and need more resources than they would if they would have been supported in the first place. We need to look at the big picture cause and effect and look for the causes that can support the people of all societies and not just the ones that can afford it because in the long run that will be the ones using the things we can produce and their health will be the world profit at some point in time.
Hodd Morning at Challenges, There are many options available in the Solar arena. It appears that Solar cooking resources were not directly mentioned in the article on "Making Solar Energy Economical" and we all know that autos, homes plus other buildings and even people can be impacted by cars being heated while parked in the sun (even in winter), homes can use solar hot water heating as well as heating air in a home or a building. A person can be warmed while sitting in the sun even in the winter if it is not excessively cold and the wind is not blowing. Yes, there are many other issues and water is important to survival and without the sun, the hydrologic process for providing water via weather would not exist. Perhaps in the long run the challenge is to provide resources to keep persons alive long enough so that humanity can create new combinations via Engineering appropriate tools for the benefit all the world's people. An undergraduate engineering degree plus a master's degree in Materials/Mechanics plus a Ph.D in Civil Engineering in the arena of Hydrology and Water Resources with work experience with Nuclear Engineering might be a path to consider. Other engineering combinations can work also Sincerely, Alan K. Karplus
John West, **Humans evolved OUT OF the sea because the thermodynamics are too thin for the kind of genetic developments that were being undertaken from amphibian to mammal. There is no going back for mankind. **Additionally we have poisoned the oceans of the world for even the most humble of sea creatures whose contribution to converting excess solar energy to matter has been compromised. Recent observations of increasingly milder US hurricane seasons, the Accumulated Cyclone Energy metric, biomass surveys of the GOM and Arctic melt patterns are beginning to confirm that climate change is a function of oceanic pollution and NOT atmospheric greenhouse gases. The house of cards we call civilisation is tumbling down **The Entropy gradients at all the best places within and on the oceans are insufficient to human needs. This is why we all hunker down on the 'right side of the tracks' in river valleys and seasides. The majority of human populations are now living on coastal areas and that number is escalating, particularly in the bigger nations like China and India. **Coastal areas offer the maximum solar driven entropy gradients and maximum exposure to the powerful hydrological cycle.. Humans have suckled their way to great civilisations along these Entropy gradients but there are simply not enough of them to fit the current 6.5 billion people and their stupid aspirations to all have children and grand children to carry on their conflated sense of FIGJAM greatness. A greatness that only existed because of the filling station Entropy gradient from cheap oil that will within a decade become so expensive it will be the source of internecine wars not only between nations but between neighbours and local communities. ###Old ways die hard. We humans must be prepared to : **(1)understand Odum's EMERGY concept (dieoff.org) about the TRUE cost and value of different energy sources and the importance of geothermal as the most non polluting source, **(2)go exclusively hot-rock GEOTHERMAL power as the ONLY available high EMERGY source within our current means, **(3)Clean up the oceans using massive engineered wetland construction projects, **(4)Induct a global one child per woman program to maintain an equitable & sustainable world population between 6 & 7 billion people **(5)Engage in a GPAL/SPACE-NET style space exploration project. To use the human sex drive for objective creativity rather than just dumb biological creation. IE. if people are told they can't have more than one child unless they are in a space colony we will see space colonies miraculously appear within decades and NOT centuries. Such is the blunt instrument of human procreation which psychologists remind us is some 90% of all our motivation ... good and evil . ###The alternative is that the rampant human sex drive coupled with dwindling cheap energy will lead to competition and wars that will OBLITERATE civilisation as we know it within 2 decades (based on current TRUE oil reserves and population growth rates). Despite the best efforts of existing Corporate CEOs and governments to selectively exterminate excess populations for personal profit & in the name of NATIONALISM the whole deck is coming down. ###Its ALL thermodynamics ... There were 1-2 billion people living uncertain drudge lives before oil and there will be again after oil. Our technology is built on and runs on oil. It will all be useless after oil. Tanks wont roll, missiles wont fly, wind turbines and solar cells won't be installed and ships won't cruise the oceans looking for a better place to live. #####Engineers have a short window of opportunity to get the above 5 technological initiatives up and running. God help us all if we don't We certainly can't waste time looking 'back to the oceans'.
Exploration doesn't need to be all about space. You say it's embarassing with how little we know about what our universe is made of. I say it's embarassing with how little we know about our own planet. Our exploration needs to start here on planet Earth, especially our oceans. The engineering challenges are very real and the rewards for solving those challenges may give mankind more immediate solutions to our population problem. Remember all life came from the oceans, we need to look there for solutions to enhance our lives now.
The list does not include anything from the psychology or sociology disciplines. How about the following subject: what is the mechanism that make people accept each other? How do you attract people and make them have confidence in you and even like or love you?
I place importance on colonising/terraforming other planets in the solar system. To achieve this I recognise the three catogories of planets that will require radically different approaches. These are: Water planets like Europa; Gas planets like Jupiter; and Earth planets like Mercury. I would begin by creating prototypes on Earth so that we can easily troubleshoot before creating a basic habitat standard for each of the three planet types. Development of floating platforms (for ocean worlds) that are sixty kilometres across could be created by counterlevering a platform across a number of tankers. Development of floating cities (for the gas worlds) could be built into giant hindenberg type airships. For the colonsation of Mars, I would construct giant underground tunnels that were pumped with "air" by using the naturally occuring diurnal cycle of night and day.
Engineer a GPAL Compiler(GPAL-C) tool for ALL future space exploration. GPAL is .. GUN barrel lift .. PACKET switched .. scramjet ASSIST .. incremental LAUNCH CAD/CAM/LAUNCH technology I won't delve into detail as it will be lost in the block-formatting of this blog. Suffice it to say : * GPAL-C will globally standardise all future space exploration to one space design language for 5 key construction components: (1)materiel packet routers, (2)auto-habitat construction, (3)a variety of science experiment formats, (4)energy production back-to back dynamo modules and (5)modular mining and manufacturing infrastructure components. The idea is that when man does go into any post in space that has a self constructed a router station he will have somewhere SAFE to dwell in and return from.. * GPAL will first create 288 router stations in LEO(Low Earth Orbit) and 1000 launch packet manufacture facilities on Earth, enabling 1 ton materiel packets to be channelled to and launched from a 4500mtr equatorial mountain (Mt Wilhelm, New Guinea)every 5 minutes. A total of 100000 tons per year to LEO. GPAL-C will assume these routers exist and use them in the CAM and LAUNCH phases. Additional routers will be continually INCREMENTALLY LAUNCHED and auto-assembled at desirable orbits in the INNER Solar Syatem where Energy harvesting is maximum. Then outwards to Mars and beyond as focused energy transfer & distribution mechanisms evolve across SPACE-NET. * As this SPACE-NET grows & extends two things will occur: (1)Materiel will no longer come from Earth, only from low-G orbs like Mercury and Moon (2)Mannned missions and colonisation will be possible at more and more stable orbits within the SPACE-NET. *GPAL-C will allow programmers to conceptualise the 5 key construction components in different architectures and at different stable orbital loci. Once an architecture is designed, the compiler will check the accuracy and feasibility of the design, suggest improvements and finally break the design into available 1-ton materiel packet types and issue orders to the ground manufacturing routers. It will then program all existing SPACE-NET routers to packet-switch them to potentially ANYWHERE within the NET. Primary packet types will include fuel/oxidiser packets, interconnectable dynamo/heat-exchange modules, science packs, habitat framing/cladding structural members. The only thing preventing GPAL is NATIONALISM. Once all engineers and financiers of all nationalities come together on GPAL there are absolutely no barriers that bright ENGINEERING minds cannot overcome. GPAL & SPACE-NET -- engineering & extending the World Wide Web in 3D reality to ANYwhere in space for ANY purpose.
Make the work of PHDs more democratic! Develop tools that make scientific research easier and more interesting. Computer programmers write user interfaces to make the process of interacting with the computer easier and more intuitive. Do the same for science! Oh yes, and make sure it is appealing to kids as well...
Ending aging through the reverse engineering of human biology and designing rejuvenation therapies would catapult humanity forward faster than any other advancement. An eternally youthful species would be more wise, more humane and less apathetic. A long lived human species would reprioritize its goals around sustainability, fairness, health and progress by ending the self-destructive psychology that results from the knowledge that all one has forward to in life is cognitive decline, suffering from age-related disease and finally death. It doesn't matter how far we can travel, how far we can see or how much energy we can produce to make things spin faster if we simply use this technology to destroy ourselves faster. Why not use it to live better and longer?
I am working on the development of a practical way to pluck energy out of the aether like Tesla did for his electric Pierce Arrow in 1931. I patented the basic power system that is used by "Flying Saucers". Once we have have a practical, economical way of doing it, we can use electric power for almost anything that has to be improved. Clean water anywhere. Safe transportation by vehicles that do not run out of power, are noiseless and non-polluting. Electric light, heating or cooling anywhere where people desire to live. Real, safe space travel is included. As some researchers in free energy have been elimnated, I was obliged to make provisions for instant publication of all particulars in case of sudden demise. Otherwise the units to power one and other will be leased to give investors and the Taxman their due.
I would explore the area(s) outside the solar system, to examine what is beyond and help confirm or deny the existence of other worlds with life. The "Star ship" used for exploration would be fusion powered with a back up of an Ion drive. There would also be for emergency power, solar sails as a built in redundancy. The ship would be outfitted with several different telescopes to measure all types of anomalies-xrays, gamma rays, infrared...... Onboard there would be labs to examine material collected from such surveys/studies similar to tnose here on Earth, but much more advanced and compact for design needs. There would also be a certain type of electromagnetic shields to repel micro debris, and cutting lasers to remove large size objects that would pose a potential hazard to the ships exterior. I believe that by putting forth a costly but beneficial effort, we might be able to learn things that would advance our culture and technology and help us to advance in ways never possible by only exploring our solar system.