What is Computational Mechanics?

Computational Mechanics (CM) is that sub-discipline of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics concerned with the use of computational methods and devices to study events governed by the principles of mechanics. It is the fundamentally important part of computational science and engineering concerned with the use of computational approaches to characterize, predict, and simulate physical events and engineering systems governed by the laws of mechanics. Computational mechanics has had a profound impact on science and technology over the past three decades. It has transformed much of classical Newtonian theory into practical tools for prediction and understanding of complex systems. These are used in the simulation and design of current and future advances in technology throughout the developed and developing world. These have had a pervasive impact on manufacturing, communication, transportation, medicine, defense and many other areas central to modern civilization. By incorporating new models of physical and biological systems based upon quantum, molecular and biological mechanics, computational mechanics has an enormous potential for future growth and applicability.

Not surprisingly, successful research in CM is usually interdisciplinary in nature, reflecting a combination of concepts, methods, and principles that often span several areas of mechanics, mathematics, computer sciences, and other scientific disciplines as well. As will soon become evident in this exposition, tomorrow’s research in CM will be broader than ever before, spanning many new technologies and scientific fields.

A Report of the United States National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics
September 2000
by J. Tinsley Oden, Ted Belytschko, Ivo Babuska, T.J.R. Hughes.