What is it about ?

Why have I created this blog ? I guess, mainly to fulfill my desire to teach everyone about everything… In lectures there is usually no time to talk about “the basics of the basics” – because I wouldn’t have time to get to the point before the end of the semester. Additionally, I would bore those students who know the basics. I hope that by reading my posts at least some of you will be motivated to learn and to get to know the mechanisms that affect us all.

Though engineering is displayed prominently at the head of the main page, I hope that people of different backgrounds might find something interesting in my posts. I’ve started with introduction to systems dynamics but I hope I’ll have time (and motivation) to write about optimization and decision making (prospective managers and decision makers are welcome to read and comment), control systems, elements of computer science, operations research and whatever else might be of interest to my students and others who want to gain some understanding of what is going on around us (not only in technical systems) and how to live with it 🙂

Well, not exactly – I will present (comprehensive, hopefully), introduction to various methods of decribing and analysis of simple (and then, not so simple) systems (technical, biological), their control, as well as optimization methods and their applications. That’s for a start – and then I will see if there’s any interest in my writing and either expand to new topics or bequeath the blog to my descendants (if I cannot leave a fortune to them…)

For some time now I’ve been observing that what’s obvious to me isn’t necessarily obvious to others, my students in particular (who could guess?). I will try to remember that – that’s why sometimes my posts may seem too basic. However, I would like to reach out not only to my own students, but also to others, who may have a different background, as well as to everyone who has discovered a hidden engineer at heart or who simply needs a little understanding of the blog topics for personal or professional development. You may even find that some of the entries will be of value to the absolutely-nothing-about-engineer-in-me people.

The first blog posts will be about dynamical systems, their description, different points of view to look at them. There will be concrete examples (initially very simple, not to say primitive – but only following simple examples, we can understand the more complex ones), so that every person reading them hopefully will be able to imagine a system I am writing about and relate formulae or diagrams to the behaviour of the system. I will strive to make the entries understandable to anyone who wants to comprehend what is going on, not just memorize a formula and after passing an exam (paper, colloquium, etc.) immediately forget it.

In posts devoted to systems dynamics, I will use simple mechanical, electrical and “hydraulic” systems as examples. I assume that everyone has ever poured something from one container to another (maybe even through a funnel), pushed or turned something, switched on a lightbulb – hence the examples. If it goes well, we will move from such lightbulb switching to salmon trapping in a sea farm in a Norwegian fjord.

Once we know how dynamical systems behave, we will start talking about how to control them. And then, optimization will also appear …

If you find my posts interesting, please put a word around…

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