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3. Solution Techniques for Linear Problems.
6. Systematic Design and Non-linear Problems.
10. Probabilistic Decision-making.
Operations research, management science, mathematical optimisation and statistical decision-making are specialised disciplines which have blossomed since the Second World War. They are all concerned with quantitative methods for the solution of decision-making, planning and control problems in industrial and commercial enterprises. Many of the methods are applicable to a wide range of civil engineering problems and the profession is gradually accepting some of them and benefiting from their use.
This book introduces some of the methods and concepts of these specialised disciplines which are particularly useful and applicable to practical civil engineering problems. Civil engineering systems is, however, far more than a convenient holdall for diverse specialist mathematical methods. Civil engineering systems is concerned with decision-making processes within the civil engineering profession. It provides a 10gical, comprehensive framework for the study of civil engineering decision-making, and consequently many techniques from other disciplines which are concerned with decision-making naturally find a place in civil engineering systems.
The book is based on lecture courses given over a number of years to civil engineering students at the University of Liverpool. These courses present the practice of civil engineering as a creative, decision-making process for which a systematic approach and a knowledge of some efficient decision-making methods are invaluable. The material in this book is aimed at final-year undergraduate and master’s degree levels although some of the topics could easily and appropriately be taught earlier. The book assumes a knowledge of simple differential calculus, vectors and matrices but all the mathematical methods described are developed simply and are self-contained.
Only an elementary knowledge of technological theory and analysis, for example, structural mechanics and hydromechanics, is assumed. An important feature of the book is that civil engineering considerations are always uppermost. All mathematical methods are developed in a rigorous mathematical fashion but are only developed when a number of practical civil engineering problems have clearly demonstrated the need for a mathematical solution method. The theoretical aspects are illustrated as much as possible with detailed examples drawn from civil engineering.
Many of the chapters have a bibliography which suggests specialised texts for further reading. Also many chapters have a final section of problems for the reader to solve. For each problem the briefest of numerical solutions is provided at the back of the book. My experience is that students tend not to attempt to solve problems unless they have some way of telling whether their solutions are right or wrong. The most difficult aspect of writing this book has been the conscious omission of useful and interesting topics. Those inc1uded are probably the major
ones of interest to civil engineers, but who could argue that, for example, queuing theory or inventory theory are not also of use in civil engineering? They are omitted with reluctance along with many equally relevant and useful topics. The book is an introductory one to a very wide and diverse discipline. I hope that it will encourage others to explore this field for themselves and to be rewarded by the pleasure and stimulus which I have found there.