A Caltech Library Service

Computer Languages for Numerical Engineering Problems


Bigelow, Richard Henry (1973) Computer Languages for Numerical Engineering Problems. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/CBA9-Z637.


Recent and anticipated advances in computer hardware capabilities have made hardware limitations insignificant for many numerical engineering problems. The difficulties of programming computers now constitute the greatest block to their effective utilization by engineers and scientists. Consequently, new languages that are specialized to numerical engineering problems are needed.

Relmath is such a language. It is designed to solve ordinary differential equations and to manipulate the resulting functions. Systems of equations can be stated in a normal mathematical form and solved by a simple statement. Printed and plotted output can be readily obtained.

Relmath also allows the definition of procedures for solving differential equations. Its procedural language is quite different from general programming languages. It is restricted to a certain class of algorithms, and the calculations that are common to all these methods are made implicit in the language. The language is highly supportive for procedures in this class. The user need only state the important mathematical steps, such as the formulas defining a Runge-Kutta scheme or the method of estimating the error, if error control is desired.

Some considerations for the design and implementation of numerical engineering languages are discussed using Relmath as an example. The decisions involved in the design of Relmath are detailed. The behavior of a representative numerical algorithm in a paging environment is analyzed, which shows the importance of properly designing algorithms for such environments. Relmath's method of compiling its procedures is discussed. The compiled code is as fast as standard library subroutines. Finally, a plan for further research to develop a more supportive environment for the implementation of similar languages is outlined.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Engineering Science; Mathematics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Engineering
Minor Option:Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Thompson, Frederick B.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:7 December 1972
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
REL Project Report5
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:12122017-105710635
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemTechnical Report
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10600
Deposited By: Mel Ray
Deposited On:14 Dec 2017 19:07
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 03:52

Thesis Files

PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page