The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 85 (2007) > Issues > Issue 2 > Engineering as cyclic problem solving - some insights from Karl Popper
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Engineering as cyclic problem solving - some insights from Karl Popper

Sir Karl Popper argued that the scientific method was cyclic in nature and that the growth of scientific knowledge took place when we focused on the falsification of theories, as opposed to their verification. This paper demonstrates the relevance of these ideas to engineering processes and approaches, which can be seen as cyclic problem solving where the notion of failure plays a vital role. It also shows how some of these concepts are embodied in genetic algorithms, used for both optimisation and design, and in reflective practice loops that are advocated for organisational learning. Professor W. P .S. Dias, PhD, DIC, MIStructE Department of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

Author(s): Dias, W P S

Keywords: karl popper;philisophy;problem solving;engineering;design;failures