Nowadays Challenges in Engineering Education

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Nowadays Challenges in Engineering Education
The point of view of industry
Laszlo Abraham
General Manager
NI (National Instruments) Hungary Ltd.
Debrecen, Hungary
[email protected]
Keywords: challenge, engineer education, National Instruments
s a result of misperceptions by young graduates, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering
identified 14 grand challenges that great engineering must solve to make the difference in our
society. This serves as to rally all of us to the kind of impact that great engineering can have. Because of all these challenges and the other part of the world where engineers are needed we have to
find the best ones. The talented young minds who can help changing the world. So the question is:
where are they?
A
If we see the New York Times study about science we could see the decline in these fields during the
past several years. While the interests in engineering ad computer science has been started to grow in
the late seventies and had the peak in the mid eighties, after these great years a negative direction has
started in both faculties. The computer science could enjoy a second peak point, but the engineering
decline was constant, from 9.9% it fell down to 5.4%, which means the interest reduced almost 50%
which is a tremendous change in this area.
There is another fact we have to consider. 40% to 50% of the engineering students switch to other majors or drop out. Can you imagine that the half of the students who decided to study engineering and become engineer change their minds or not able to meet the expectations? So who will solve the grand
challenges? Unfortunately the solution is not as easy as it seems. The goal is manifest but the way is not
straight. Becoming an engineer means a lot of money mostly from the parents side, many-many studying hours, so the theoretic and technical knowledge are match and can easily use, the equipment
should be in the focus as well, and last but not least the English should be the second mother tongue for
an engineer. From John Dewey sentence - A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved – we know
we are closer to the solution but we have to keep it in our mind that becoming an engineer needs extra
from everyone’s side. And why it is good if we invest in engineering studies? Because we can get a motivated and talented young mind who can solve challenges and working on different tasks like the
women in front of you. If there is a professor and an engineer next to each other and we get a women in
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front of them and ask them to work on how they can reach the lady with the only criteria, they have to half
their route. We will get the result, the professor don’t want to start this wonderful journey, because he realize this is a never ending sequence, despite he, the engineer will start his trip the thoughts in his mind
– I can get enough close so I can wait for her, or in front of the lady other solutions can come into my mind
how I can really reach her. It is a very nice example how great professors and great engineers are thinking and why are they different and why the society needs both of them. So we can see there are two
types of knowledge – the material or theoretical and the technical. The theoretical minds would like to
understand the world better while the technical minds would like to create a new world.
The competition has started. The competition of meeting a nowadays challenge and working on the solution and if we are lucky getting a success result before meeting with the bad physics teacher who has
no passion in their class so no one would like to become a person like them.
It seems we got the formula. But there is another trap during this becoming an engineer trip – the software era, which area offer easier results with less work. We have to teach the young engineers the
unique values of the hardware engineering.
How can we do this? How National Instruments can help us to get the best engineers?
Our company created a six step program where the students can deepen their technical knowledge
with products which are easy to use. NI offers solutions for the university students who can have the
whole laboratory in their pockets with our myDAQ. This product won two innovation award last year in
Hungary, so not only the students but the professionals can see the value of it. After the first – intro steps
to engineering myDAQ can be a good solution for everyday’s measurement, so more than 1000 universities use it. Our company’s softwer product – the LabVIEW – is a good program for everyone. For more
than 20 years, engineers and scientists around the world have depended on LabVIEW to meet their spe-
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cific application needs. Because every project is different, the LabVIEW graphical development environment is modular, making it easier for users to configure a package just for them. Every user starts with a
development system and then can add application tools or deployment targets depending on requirements. This flexible packaging enables LabVIEW functionality to grow as users tackle more complex
projects. Unlike most traditional circuit simulation tools, Multisim offers a high level of versatility in defining the simulation setup for a circuit design, including running interactive mode simulations directly from
within the schematic environment. In addition to the fixed set of 20 simulation analyses and the 22 virtual
instruments included in Multisim, engineers can use signal generation, simulation, analysis, and virtual
instrumentation utility tools developed in LabVIEW and made available to the Multisim community to
better evaluate circuit performance, optimize their designs and overall make better decisions more
quickly by using these powerful pre-built engineering and measurement and tools.
For the industry where engineers develop and working on the latest technology NI offers control systems.
National Instruments delivers fast, flexible, and accurate RF hardware powered by NI LabVIEW software to meet the ever-changing demands of the wireless industry and see the engineering process
through from design to validation to production.
To keep pace with the constantly growing number of standards, LabVIEW graphical design software offers a set of tools for signal generation, analysis, visualization, and processing of standard and custom
digital and analog modulation formats. Tailored software and flexible hardware address a wide range of
test needs including WLAN, GPS, WiMAX, MIMO, ZigBee, and RFID. This software-designed approach
delivers the powerful and cost-reducing wireless test systems that engineers have come to rely on from
National Instruments.
Students can use all of our products to measure and design. So they can make solutions at the university which can be used for the industry.
NI offers products and solution for next generation of engineers from Kindergarten to rocket science
and give solutions to the kids, schools in need as well – the Planet NI. Planet NI is an initiative designed
to empower engineers and students in developing countries to achieve economic prosperity and sustainable development through access to National Instruments technology. NI is committed to nurturing
local innovation and entrepreneurship and, through Planet NI, the company is making engineering tools
affordable, accessible, and relevant to groups focused on improving the socioeconomic development
of their communities. These groups include academic institutions, small and medium enterprises
(SMEs), and organizations working on environmental and health solutions.
REFERENCES
www.ni.com and company presentations
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