An Overview of the Numerical Modeling and Computer Programming Disciplines of an Undergraduate Civil Engineering Course and the Insane Project Experience

Humberto Alves da Silveira Monteiro, Roque Luiz da Silva Pitangueira


The world witnesses the progressive advancement of computing, whether it is in the raising power of data processing and storage, in the enhancement of modeling tools or in the improvement of the capacity to exchange information and knowledge. Today science seems to be dependent on informatics, and because of its nature, the Engineering (or the Exact Sciences, in a more general way) shares this connection even more. A need for understanding some real phenomena and the relentless search for rules that explain the behavior of physical systems drive the modern engineer to develop proper computational mechanisms that could handle the analysis of complex (mathematical) problems. Therefore, the appropriate training of engineering students regarding programming and numerical methods skills should be considered if a society wants to fully use its technological resources. In that sense, this work shares a brief overview of the numerical modeling and computer programming disciplines of the undergraduate civil engineering course of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, towards a basic diagnosis and a critical appraisal of the curriculum. Trying to fill some gaps in the academic formation process, the INSANE (INteractive Structural ANalysis Environment) project was created; an interactive environment of structural analysis conceived to be used as a didactic resource in undergraduate and graduate courses of engineering, as well as a platform of high-level scientific research on numerical methods. Throughout the years, INSANE has contributed to the training of many students, either enabling programming proficiency or in-depth learning of finite element method formulations.

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