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Throughout history, engineers have solved problems and have figured out how to make things work. As mathematical and scientific knowledge has increased, particularly within the last 150 years, engineers have increasingly been required to apply principles from math and science in the course of their work. In much design and development work today, advanced understanding of a broad array of scientific disciplines is required, as is the ability to use sophisticated and complicated computer analysis and modeling tools.

As engineered systems have become more complex, teams of engineers have grown to deal with this complexity. Many advances in the Industrial Revolution were made by individuals or small groups; on the other hand, the creation of a modern jetliner now requires the efforts of thousands of people around the globe.

Engineering advances have dramatically affected society, and will continue to do so. Technological advances provide opportunities to improve society as well as risks. Engineers today and in the future must work within the context of global societies to see that engineering progress does not lead to negative consequences.

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