Monday, April 21, 2014

Engineering and Life in the Infosphere

Civil engineering has become an information-intensive profession as our clients in the public sector have become increasingly information-oriented.  Cities still have a need for tangible assets (roads, pipes, libraries, water plants, etc.), but value in advanced societies is highly dependent on information-based, intangible assets.  Cities have emerged as key nodes in the information society.  Civil engineering needs to better understand this marriage of the physical with the inform parts of society.  This sort of physical/inform holistic enlarging of our professional responsibilities will allow us to deal more effectively with our many challenges.  As the world moves toward greater and greater informatization - all of engineering needs to adapt.

The civil engineering profession needs to periodically reexamine where it stands in the context of the Zettabyte Era.  Review the lifecycle of information to see where we can create additional value.

Stages in the Information Life Cycle
Discovering, designing, authoring, etc.
Networking, distributing, accessing, retrieving, transmitting, etc.
Processing and Management
Collecting, validating, modifying, organizing, indexing, classifying, filtering, updating, sorting, storing, etc.
Monitoring, modelling, analyzing, explaining, planning, forecasting, decision-making, instructing, educating, learning, etc.

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