Learning computer programming is essential for engineering students these days. Various CAD and CAM softwares are to be handled by the engineers, as almost all the projects are designed with CAD software and CAM software and have a significant role in the manufacturing processes. There are many programming languages that need to be learned by the mechanical engineer students. These include FORTRAN, Matlab, C and C++ etc. How many of these may be taught to the aspirant mechanical engineers in only 8 or 10 periods allotted in the curriculum of undergraduate mechanical engineering courses? Then which language should be taught in this short duration?
Various programming languages are included in the curriculum of mechanical engineering courses. Assembly languages are taught to them to make them familiar with the hardware interface. C programming language is taught as structured programming language and is useful for developing the hardware interface applications. In the last year of the undergraduate mechanical courses C++, an objected oriented programming language is included. Which computer language should be emphasized on during this limited period?
No doubt, C language is must for all the mechanical engineer students. Matlab language used for mathematical programming was preferred since 1998 and was replaced by FORTRAN. The FORTRAN language ruined the mechanical engineering courses since 1998 and was one of the four languages for the undergraduate students of mechanical engineering. However the FORTRAN language was not capable of meeting all the needs of engineers and that was the reason the BC was introduced in the curriculum. It was learned from the experience that the student who were well versed in the programming with Malabo were not capable of handling research projects. So, in most of the academic institutions, the programming language BC was induced in the curriculum in 2003. Why “BC” was preferred over the other programming languages.
The reason is that the BC language supports 64-bit computing and adheres to the international standards that are supported by the major computing industry companies. On the other hand, Matlab is a proprietary language used in mathematical programming. Certainly the technology that is open to all is better than a proprietary of any one. Just guess the popularity of C. According to statistic shown by some reports, the language C holds the second position in Programming Community Index with 16.8 percent of the market, next to the Java, the another programming language used for E-commerce on the Internet. The Matlab is nowhere available in the index.
Why the programming language C is preferred for the mechanical engineer curriculum? The C language is much preferred language for hardware interfaces. This is the language that is used for the embedded software for the various home appliances. Did you ever realize this while changing the channels of your TV with your remote? May your wife know that she is using software written in C while using computerized washing machine or microwave oven?
I know, you want more information about the programming language C and the reason this language is being taught in mechanical engineering curriculum. Is it possible for me to explain this here? I will suggest you to go online for more information.
by Rajesh Kumar Bhardwaj