I fully share your concerns, David, as someone who did have a full 4credit course (85 hours direct teaching) of "Numerical Calculus" in their UG curriculum, taught my mathematicians.... Cholesky decompositions, wellconditioned matrices, etc... The only thing that we thought was useful out of the whole class, was interpolation and curve fitting. But of course, what Engineers need is the conceptual basis to decide when to interpolate vs. fitting, or what specific method to use, NOT all the mathematical details of how a cubic spline actually works or is obtained! That is the starting point to grow their judgment. All engineering courses where interpolation and curve fitting are used should discuss these issues, so that we don't end up in the current statusquo, which is basically that the only thing that graduates (and most practicing engineers) try are the different "trendlines" (what a terrible word) offered in Excel!
It is true that there is a lot of numerical analysis in the software used for structural analysis, hydraulics, hydrology, etc., but it is much more important for engineers to understand what those models do (or don't do, or can't do) with regards to structural analysis, hydraulics, or hydrology (the physics that they are able to represent, their assumptions, their reliability, the fact that they are overparameterized, the situations in which the models will not work correctly, etc.), than it is to teach them the numerical methods that are internally used by the model to solve the variability in space and time!
For example, in my field (water resources engineering), I need my graduates to fully understand that it is a vastly different thing to run a hydraulic profile in HECRAS 1D (which basically solves physical concepts: conservation of matter continuity, conservation of energy, conservation of linear momentum, with a single "clownpocket type" parameter, Manning's n  most of the uncertainty is in the value of this parameter), than it is to use an overparameterized rainfallrunoff model based on the Curve Number method (based on an assumption, on data that nobody knows, and on a 24hr framework for converting total precip to total runoff  something that obviously cannot work for 15 min to a few hours hydrologic responses in urban areas where everybody applies it nowadays) and unit hydrographs (a convenient engineering concept, based on more assumptions, which works OK in some basins, but not so well in others). In other words, the real physical ("truth") content in each of these two softwares, as well as the number of unknown parameters, accuracy, etc., is vastly different: a calibrated HECRAS model will most probably give very reliable results (unless the range of the modelled flows is too different than the flood used for calibration), while a calibrated rainfallrunoff model probably will not even be representing the correct physical mechanisms that are actually happening in the watershed (e.g., will assume that all runoff is produced as surface, Hortonian flow, while most of the catchment actually responds subsurficially).
Thanks for these gratifying exchanges.
Claudio

Claudio Meier Ph.D., Ing., M.ASCE
Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
University of Memphis
Memphis TN

Original Message:
Sent: 05292021 12:32 PM
From: David Fedor
Subject: _6. ...apply engineering mechanics, materials science, and ...
Thank you for the insight. As I autodidactically learn about numerical methods, it does seem like an important topic for civil engineers to at least have exposure to.
The first concern I have is, like with all math in engineering, is giving too much control of the teaching to mathematicians. From experience in the workforce, workforce civil engineers do not used math like it is taught in undergraduate mathematics courses. I encourage the task committee to read and reflect on this Higher Education article from several years ago: Just how much math, and what kind, is enough for life sciences majors?. While it focuses on a turf war between biology and mathematics departments, I think it is still relevant to the typical landscape in engineering education, at least how I experienced it. I agree there should be flexibility for civil engineering programs to incorporate numerical methods according to their own needs. I personally do not favor a complete math course on numerical methods taught by mathematicians. I think it would be best taught in chunks in the context of the civil engineering problems it is being applied to.
My second concern is the extent to which most workforce civil engineers will use numerical methods, or need to have more than a introductory understanding of it. When I posited my questions, I did anticipate that structures, geotech, and hydro would be the disciplines where numerical methods are applicable, and at the upper level. I agree if there isn't some understanding when using software driven by numerical methods, an engineer runs the risk of garbage in = garbage out. It's only my perspective, but from my experience at the DOTs, the tools that are founded on numerical methods are only used on projects where traditional methods are questionable. For example, PennDOT's CSVT project. That project took 50 years of planning and development to become a reality. Subconsultants with very specialized experience in structures and hydro used advanced tools that might employ numerical methods for some analysis of that project, but in the overall scope of that project, that was a very small part of the engineering involved. That type of large scale new construction project is an outlier. Most projects in the DOT focus on rehabilitation and reconstruction of existing infrastructure and the civil engineers employ traditional methods and software for these projects.
I understand that if there is a gap in the criteria, that it has to be addressed. I am concerned that students that aren't interested in a structures, geotech, or hydro track will find numerical methods a challenge that harms their engineering selfefficacy more than it helps provide them practically usable knowledge. My hope is that programs find a way to integrate numerical methods into civil engineering courses rather than use a mathematics course to satisfy the criteria.
Personally relative to FEA software, I think the 21st civil engineer needs more instruction on how to identify inputs through research and laboratory testing and how to evaluate output for magnitude and validity.
Again, all opinions based on perspective, but I feel compelled to share in the interest of students and the workforce.

David Fedor P.E., M.S.
Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Williamsport, PA
Original Message:
Sent: 05292021 08:51 AM
From: David Dzombak
Subject: _6. ...apply engineering mechanics, materials science, and ...
Thank you, Mr. Fedor, for your comments on the proposed addition of "apply concepts and principles of .... numerical methods". As discussed in FAQs 5 and 6 that I have posted on this topic, the CEPC Task Committee discussed at length the CEBOK3 recommended inclusion of numerical methods. We acknowledge the importance of students acquiring a working knowledge of some basic concepts of numerical methods, for understanding the methods employed in design and analysis software widely used in modern civil engineering practice. The CEPC Task Committee concluded that there already is some level of exposure to numerical methods in CEaccredited programs through current curricular requirements such as differential equations (e.g., Euler's method and other numerical techniques for equation solving). Exposure to numerical methods in mathematics courses can help with understanding of numerical approaches in upperlevel courses in structural engineering, geotechnical engineering (e.g., slope stability analysis), hydraulic engineering (e.g., HardyCross method), etc. The CEPC Task Committee will certainly consider your questions and perspectives on numerical methods along with other input that we anticipate receiving on this topic.

David Dzombak, PhD, PE, Dist.M.ASCE
Hamerschlag University Professor and Dept Head
Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
<maskemail>[email protected]</maskemail>
Original Message:
Sent: 05282021 11:20 PM
From: David Fedor
Subject: _6. ...apply engineering mechanics, materials science, and ...
A few questions about numerical methods since it was not part of my curriculum almost 20 years ago and I am not familiar with it:
 For which civil engineering course(s) does the task committee foresee numerical methods being needed as prior knowledge for?
 Where does the task committee recommend numerical methods be introduced in the curriculum; in a mathematics course or embedded in civil engineering courses?
 Does the task committee foresee numerical methods becoming a topic on the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering Exam?
 What application does it have in practical civil engineering applications other than in powering FEA software?

David Fedor P.E., M.S.
Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Williamsport, PA
Original Message:
Sent: 04282021 04:23 PM
From: Jay Puckett
Subject: _6. ...apply engineering mechanics, materials science, and ...
CURRENT CRITERIA

PROPOSED CRITERIA

RATIONALE FOR CHANGE


apply engineering mechanics, materials science, and numerical methods to solve civil engineering problems;

 Engineering mechanics, materials science, and numerical methods are explicitly cited in the CEBOK3, which specifies that concepts and principles in these areas be applied in the context of CE problemsolving.
 The CEBOK3 specifies "solid and fluid mechanics;" however, "engineering mechanics" is used in the proposed CEPC to allow for more flexibility.
