Computer programs for structural steelwork

Computer programs for structural steelwork

dimensional transformations and projections for which the reader will require a working knowledge of matrices. Clipping algorithms are described in de...

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dimensional transformations and projections for which the reader will require a working knowledge of matrices. Clipping algorithms are described in detail in two papers, followed, slightly out of turn, by a description of systems software and organization. Systems philosophy is the subject of further papers on satellite systems and whereas these are somewhat specialized, it will give the reader some introduction to the problems to be encountered. The section on interactive graphics contains an unexpected selection of papers, two of which address human factors and the man-machine dialogue. The three-dimensional tablet is a rather specific paper which might put off the

reader with its 12 by 16 matrices. It is followed by papers on a touch-sensitive display and a survey of the various graphic input devices, ranging from function switches through the 'mouse' and tracker ball to tablets and lightpens. Hidden-surface removal is well covered by the techniques which had been devised up until 1974 together with contributions on texture and curved surfaces. The section finishes with descriptions of some of the surface-patch methods. Computer animation techniques are well presented and inlude colour pictures, as do one or two other papers in the publication and the volume finishes with applications of computer

graphics to architecture, art and urban systems including statistical mapping. A collection of papers of this kind is useful by virtue of the coverage it contains bound in one volume. The information is not, of course, as up-todate as one would hope, but for the newcomer to the field there is much that is useful and indeed, if he perseveres in devouring the total contents of 433 pages, he will become knowledgable in most aspects of the art. For the workers in the field it provides a useful reminder covering details which are not as yet to be found in a single volume elsewhere.

D J Grover

Environmental planning for utility corridors Ross T Newkirk Anne Arbor (1979) 199pp The author explains that this book describes a 'computer-based planning system developed to help optimize environmental resource allocations. It is orientated to identify corridors for potential utility development over study areas from 2000 to 100 000 square miles in extent'. A background to the subject area is provided together with the author's own contribution and finally a case study with tentative conclusions. The above synopsis reads like that of a PhD thesis and hints at a text likely to prove just as dull but this is not the case and the author writes with enthusiasm and authority. In essence, he explores from personal experience possible ways of harnessing modern computer technology to the difficult, if not impossible task, of routing public utilities, such as long-distance high-

voltage overhead lines. This must be done in such a way as to cause minimum disturbance to urban area, agriculture, historic sites, scenic attractions and the environment generally. Problems of quantifying natural and manmade resources are discussed in a sensible and sensitive way. Cartography is related to automatic data capture, analysis and representation in relevant fashion. Algorithms to assist in the process and the choice of 'best route' are described and detailed. Throughout the text the need to report back to sponsoring authorities, committees of enquiry and public opinion is appreciated and the iterative nature of the exercise is stressed. In the final part, the author deals with a specific case relating to the route choice for a 60 mile, 500 kV overhead-line system with towers up to 160 feet high and demanding a

right of way up to 600 feet in width. The technical account of the study is fascinating and retains the flavour of the practical restraints. No specific readership for his book is mentioned by the author but clearly it has much to offer professionals engaged in large-scale regional planning It should appeal also to the economic geographer, the computer specialist and the more technical ecologists. He suggests that the methodology might find application in the development of regional databanks, digital picture enhancement, computer backboard wiring plans and the layout of printed circuits. This reviewer agrees entirely. The book certainly offers scope as a spur to 'divergent thinking' and for this reason the reviewer will be recommending it to his own research students.

M G Hortley, UMIST, UK

Computer programs for structural steelwork I Hamilton, DOC, Cambridge, UK (1979) 92 pp £12 (£5 for members) This report provides information on computer programs in the field of structural steelwork design and fabrication. It was commissioned by

volume 11 number 6 november 1979

the Department of the Environment, Property Services Agency and is aimed at users and potential users in the construction industry. The layout of the report lives up to the usual high standard of the Design Office Consortium and makes for easy

reading even for the computing novice. In all, 31 programs are described, each by means of information sheets, giving such data as the amount of documentation, method of solution, program capability, limitations and

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assumptions, how the program can be used and the cost of running or buying the program. The amount of information given on each program is sufficient to give the reader an initial estimate of the program's suitability, without recourse to detailed computer jargon. Programs are grouped into five sections: portal frames, general frames, connection design, detailing and structural members design. No attempt was made to compare or evaluate programs. The report will be useful to a structural engineer wishing to consider the use of the computer in his field. The text will be particularly useful to the smaller steelwork concerns

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and also educational establishments running civil/structural engineering and building courses. Whilst some omissions may be observed in the range of the software reviewed (particularly the generalpurpose analysis programs), the report covers the many and varied applications available in the field of structural steelwork. The omission of more general packages which could be used in the steelwork field should be balanced by some more detailed reference to their availability. It is surprising that the report does not mention microcomputers, as the likely proliferation of these machines in small/medium sized

The 4th international conference and exhibition on Computers in Design and Engineering will take place on 31 st March-2nd April 1980 An e x h i b i t i o n of e q u i p m e n t , i n c l u d i n g drafting and graphics systems and p e r i p h e r a l s will be held a l o n g s i d e t h e c o n f e r e n c e . S o f t w a r e s u p p l i e r s will also be p r e s e n t to d e m o n s t r a t e C A D p r o g r a m s a n d s e r v i c e s in t h e v a r i o u s fields of application.

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organizations through tile ~cxt decade will serve to enhance the use of the computer and soltware in the engineering field. The clarity with which information is presented, could lull the reader into a false sense of security with regard to the difficulties which may be encountered when using externally produced software. A warning of problems associated with a 'black box' approach should have been included. For structural engineers considering using the computer, the purchase price of this report will subsequently be recouped many times over. g / Baxter

To: Alan Pipes, Conference Organizer, CAD 80 PO Box 63, Westbury House, Bury Street Guildford, Surrey, GU2 5BH England Telephone 0483 31281 Telex 859556 Scitec G Please send me a Conference Programme Name .

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Organization and address

compu ter-aided design