This is Part 8 in the ChEnected series "We Are ChE: Entering a Golden Age". It is authored by Incoming 2013 AIChE president Phil Westmoreland.
The third reason I foresee ChE entering a new Golden Age is its ever-increasing use of computing and communication networks as a ubiquitous “cyberinfrastructure.” It powers both our understanding and our actions, shaping how we collect and use data and how we simulate, design, and predict processes and products.
Computers and more
Cyberinfrastructure has been with us for a long time, but thinking about it using that term has been just in the past ten years. “Infrastructure” refers to networks of structures and systems that underpin a society or economy, such as roads, water pipelines, the electrical grid, or telephone systems. Our daily lives and work are now underpinned by a cyberinfrastructure of computers, the Internet, portable devices, wireless and wired networks, software, videoconferencing, technical support, and professional “social-media” interactions.