1P13 Home Page

In 2022, I left my job as a full-time professional orchestral musician in Regina, Saskatchewan and moved back to Ontario. In addition to working as a orchestral freelancer, I am continuing the part-time courses I began at the University of Regina as a student in engineering at McMaster University. The first year of McMaster's engineering program contains a project course referred to as 1P13, which ostensibly combines the material that used to be taught in classes on materials science, computing, CAD, and design process into one full-year, 13-credit course composed entirely of "projects." Below are some pages detailing aspects of those projects that others may find interesting.

The main tools used in 1P13 are Autodesk Inventor for computer aided design, ansys granta for materials selection, and python as an all-purpose programming language. I had already done some programming in python during a NSERC-USRA summer project on Bayesian networks under Dr. Cory Butz. Autodesk Inventor, of course, was new to me; and I was disappointed to learn that it is proprietary software than runs only on Windows. Since I am certainly not giving up my functional, non-intrusive and, dare I say, ethical daily computing setup on Linux Mint setup in favour of Windows, I ended up setting up a dual boot on my laptop to be able to run Windows solely for the software required for school. However, I did also download and replicate some assignments in FreeCAD, a free and open-source piece of CAD software. While it is undeniable that Inventor is easier and more intuitive thabn FreeCAD, it seems that the focus on proprietary software in education is itself a contributing factor to that software's superiority. If entire generations of university engineering students used only open-source tools in their education, how much faster could the development of those tools progress?

(McMaster's math classes also make use of MATLAB, which, though certainly an old and distinguished language, is still proprietary and extremely expensive. It seems worth noting that CERN and NASA models now use Julia, and the Federal Reserve bank of New York ported its economic modelling from MATLAB to Julia in 2015.)

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