The All-in-One Environment for Civil Engineering: Digging into River-Aquifer Interactions with Mathematica

Diego Oviedo-Salcedo, PhD Candidate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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The Mathematica Edge
  • Includes advanced, built-in functions for statistical analysis and visualization
  • Allows for the creation of dynamic, computation-powered presentations
  • Provides a single workflow for calculations, data, visualizations, and interactive applications
"The power that I have seen with Mathematica is that you just take concepts, bring them into Mathematica, and they come alive."

Challenge

As a PhD candidate in civil engineering, Diego Oviedo-Salcedo needed a computational environment that he could use to not only explore the abstract concepts within his research on the risk assessments of river-aquifer systems, but also to present and communicate his findings to his advisor, peers, and decision-makers.

Solution

Mathematica's enhanced built-in statistical analysis capabilities allow Oviedo-Salcedo to instantly test different ideas and methods related to assessing the impact of uncertain physical and hydrological sources on river and aquifer interactions. He sums up Mathematica's statistical analysis and visualization power: "I can take concepts I've seen written in books or journal papers and immediately see them come to life in Mathematica. I can see how parameters interact and analyze different scenarios."

Mathematica's easy-to-author interactivity also helps him communicate his results with dynamic models—a feature that's proven to be eye-opening within his department. "My peers are astonished when I give presentations with Mathematica because we can generate results and tweak parameters as we discuss the models. It helps them see the potential of the problem I'm trying to address."

Dual Role

Once Oviedo-Salcedo completes his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he will return to his home country of Colombia to continue his academic career as faculty and as a Mathematica instructor. About Mathematica's potential in the classroom environment, he says, "Mathematica enhances my teaching because I can construct interactive models and render better visual products, and I think that's a key component in the teaching and learning process."

Benefits

Mathematica's range of capabilities enables Oviedo-Salcedo to dive into the statistical analysis component of his research and produce interactive visualiztions that he can use to communicate his findings in one piece of software.


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