Geotechnical Engineering Design in the Age of the Modern Computer

by John T. Christian, Stone and Webster Engineering Corp, Boston, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Geotechnical Engineering Congress?1991


Because geotechnical engineering requires that the materials and their configuration be investigated for each new project, the profession has always placed great emphasis on judgment. In this environment the computer, and mathematical methods in general, have traditionally been viewed with some suspicion. The ready availability of microcomputers has given engineers access to a very powerful tool, but the most popular uses remain word processing and spreadsheets, even for engineers heavily involved in analytical work. Primarily because of economic constraints, the geotechnical community has not developed much modern software designed for its peculiar needs. Other recent developments in computer applications are the practical application of artificial intelligence, the expansion of capacity for three-dimensional graphics, and the development of relational databases. These are now being used in practice in many fields, and they will have an impact on the practice of geotechnical engineering before long. Examples of recent applications in practice are illustrated.

Subject Headings: Geotechnical engineering | Artificial intelligence (AI) | Mathematics | Computing in civil engineering | Systems engineering | Soil mechanics | Graphic methods

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