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As with all modern scientific and technological endeavours, computers and software play an increasingly important role. Numerical methods and simulations can help predict design performance more accurately than previous approximations.
Using computer-aided design (CAD) software, engineers are able to more easily create drawings and models of their designs. Computer models of designs can be checked for flaws without having to make expensive and time-consuming prototypes. The computer can automatically translate some models to instructions suitable for automatic machinery (e.g., CNC) to fabricate (part of) a design. The computer also allows increased reuse of previously developed designs, by presenting an engineer with a library of predefined parts ready to be used in designs.
Of late, the use of finite element method analysis (FEM analysis or FEA) software to study stress, temperature, flow as well as electromagnetic fields has gained importance. In addition, a variety of software is available to analyse dynamic systems.
Electronics engineers make use of a variety of circuit schematics software to aid in the creation of circuit designs that perform an electronic task when used for a printed circuit board (PCB) or a computer chip.
The application of computers in the area of engineering of goods is known as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).