The Engineering Overlap
Now, then. The price of these two excellent majors is that every semester feels the same: engineering and math until I’ve actually forgotten how to speak English coherently (this blog is my only outlet for such language). I secretly (and sometimes not-so-secretly) love it, because the things we learn are often pretty awesome. At times, though, the number of different seemingly unrelated classes can get tedious. That’s when I’m thankful for something I call The Engineering Overlap.
For your reading convenience, an illustration:
My first MWF class is Math 250: Introduction to Mathematical Logic. On the class’s first day, Prof. Bova told us in no uncertain terms that Mathematical Logic would probably be the most abstract math we’d take as undergraduates, ranking it as more abstract than “universal algebra.” We’re still in the early bits of the class, learning the symbology and techniques of Formal Languages. The symbols for operations in the formal language S include a symbol for “AND,” a symbol for “OR,” and a symbol for “NOT.” These few symbols can be used to make any necessary logical statements with our variables, constants and functions.
Fast forward to 11:00 on Tuesday morning – Mechatronics! The subject itself is a sort of Electrical-Mechanical engineering combo, so we started with the electronics of an optical encoder, then moved to digital logic. Logic, you say? Verily, I respond! Turns out there are six basic kinds of logic gates generally used in Mechatronic systems, including AND, OR, and NOT. No big deal, though, we use the words “and,” “or,” and “not” a lot in everyday speech.
…Instrumentation Lab on Friday. Learning LabView, a systems design software. Our first week’s assignment involves creating and simulating a tank system that can either auto-regulate its own level or be drained manually. How?
I LOVE when this stuff happens. It really brings together all the different subjects and makes me feel like I’m not just taking classes. I’m learning how to do something bigger, I’m learning how to do something at all! I get to walk five minutes to class and learn how to make robots or design self-automated tank systems.
That is so cool.
ADDENDUM: In my Math 216 (Probability and Statistics for Engineers) class, I have friends who are Electrical, Computer, Mechanical and Chemical engineers. Yet another example of the overlap!