The previous chapter has briefly discussed the concept of nonlinear engineering models and their solution which is the major topic of this work. To review, the term engineering models refers to a collection of relationships between some set of parameters associated with an engineering artifact and some desired set of performance parameters. The relationships may be explicitly given but in most cases are implicitly expressed through sets of nonlinear equations, differential equations and/or algorithms which specify how one generates the associated relationships. An engineer is typically interested in exploring the space of performance parameters as a function of some set (or subset) of artifact parameters. In modern day practice, this exploration of responses is typically done by use of a digital computer executing some type of computer program written in some type of computer language. Some of the fundamental background expected of the reader to implement such numerical computer programs is reviewed in this chapter.
Not many years ago engineers primarily used large centrally located mainframe computers for any extensive modeling work. However, this has now changed to the primary use of desktop computers or workstations for all except the most numerically intensive calculations which may still involve supercomputers. For the discussion here it will be assumed that the code examples will be implemented on typical desktop computers (typically called PCs).