Computing is a central part of the modern professional engineer’s working life. Throughout the course students will be introduced to a range of professional engineering software packages for Computer Aided Design, Computational Fluid Dynamics and many other applications. This spans all branches of engineering such that these laboratories are used for Mechanics, Fluid Dynamics, Electronics, Chemical Engineering, Medical Engineering and Civil Engineering in addition to Information and Software Engineering.
A common software package, used by many engineers in industry and academia, is MATLAB. At its most fundamental level, it is like a programmable scientific calculator, but with the file and memory resources of a computer at its disposal. Students are not expected to have any experience with programming when they start the course, and are taught MATLAB in their first year.
Engineering students now use their own computers much more than they did five or ten years ago. Although all teaching still takes place in the software laboratories, they are encouraged to install software like MATLAB on their own computers to use for laboratories exercises, tutorials and 3rd and 4th year projects. A large range of software is provided for free to students. We have three dedicated software laboratories on the 6th floor: Software Laboratory A contains general-purpose Windows computers, Software Laboratory B contains Linux machines and finally the Design Office contains high spec Windows machines for 3D design work using SolidWorks.
Undergraduates can also use the labs to access e-mail and the internet which they may use, outside timetabled laboratory hours, for academic purposes.