Bridging the Gap

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From Theory to Application

Andrew W. Sloley
The Distillation Group, Inc.*
P.O. Box 10105
College Station, Texas 77842-0105

Presented at the
AIChE Spring National Meeting
Session 78A: Years of Experience verus Milliseconds of Computing Power
9-12 March 1998

Abstract copyright Andrew W. Sloley
All rights reserved

Engineering is not about a choice of experience versus computing abilities. Engineering, successful engineering, is about combining experience with the ability to use modern tools. Modern computer applications do not replace understanding the basics of pressure, temperature, and composition, and applying them. Modern computer tools add power to the engineer’s understanding of the basics. But the basics must be understood first of all. This applies equally to process design, equipment design, troubleshooting, operations, and control.

University engineering education has specific purposes. Teaching engineers ‘useful’ things is only one of the university’s objectives. The newly graduated engineer is capable of programming in multiple computer languages, has practice with simulators, and knows where to look up correlations. Is this the same as understanding the fundamentals of a specific plant’s process or a particular type of equipment’s operation? No, it is not. First, understanding is separate from knowledge. Knowledge is the factual background that gives the engineer tools. Understanding is the ability to apply these tools. To many this may seem a distinction without a difference. It is not. It is a huge difference.

Training is a method of giving help in an organized fashion to speed up the transition from an educated engineer to a useful engineer. Specific industries need targeted training programs put together for their needs. This paper covers elements of what a is needed to construct a technical training program.

15 pages.
Electronic version available in Adobe PDF format file 067.PDF 406k.

*current affiliation

This page updated June 2, 1999.
© 1999 The Distillation Group, Inc. All rights reserved.