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Computational Science: Computers Working for Humanity on a Global Scale

written by: Heather Marie Kosur • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 1/19/2011

Computer modeling using mathematics serves society in numerous ways, from helping simulate natural disasters to simple manufacturing processes. Learn about some ways in which computational science is applicable to areas outside of the specific field.

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    Ever since humans have been aware of the concept of numbers, almost all situations, phenomena, and events have some practical aspect and relationship in numerical analysis. These range from simple numerical simulations and optimization of processes to more complex models that involve data analysis and model fitting.

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    Computational Science and Nature

    Through the establishment and advancement of computational science, many avenues of approach to solving problems in the fields of science and engineering have opened up due to an innovative method of combining numerical analysis and computing power. This kind of approach allows certain kinds of problems to be tackled that have previously had a narrower focus due to poorer technology and understanding.

    Large scale events that can be studied by computational science involve simulating known natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. A further use is the prediction of weather phenomenon such as El Niño and its impact on the areas it may affect including wildlife, habitat, and damage to humans. Another predictive application of computational science involves analyzing certain phenomenon in advanced physics that involve the behavior of sub-atomic particles. In addition, some theories in quantum physics that have no tangible experimental basis may be studied by computational and mathematical methods, which may reap some potential benefits to improve technology.

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    Computational Science and Industry

    Several processes in the manufacturing industry may be further optimized if they are studied by computational science. Because numerical analysis imposes limits and applies parameters, more efficient methods may be discovered and applied to the industry. Even before the manufacturing process in the field of engineering, computational science is useful in determining whether or not preliminary designs are competent and able to be actualized into reality before the building process begins. Many aspects in society such as networks between individuals, companies, organizations, and institutions can be modeled and studied, which has potential benefits for social theorists and economists.

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    From the outset, although only a few concepts go into the field of computational science, there are actually several applications which can benefit humankind, from designing the perfect car to preventing houses from collapsing in an earthquake. Computational science is applicable to fields within and outside of computational science.