Modelling, testing, and validation for your project

Josh Smith blog entry

Happy New Year for January 2015!
Before the New Year we were talking about final year projects and had discussed the principles of project planning in order to make the most of this important module/unit.
This month we are going to cover the phases after planning – modelling, testing and validation of your results.

Whatever you have decided to do for a project, you must ensure that this phase is comprehensively completed on time. The project is often run over the whole duration of the final year and it is very easy to forget about it as you get loaded up with other assessments and commitments throughout the year.

You must make sure that you find and schedule time to gain progress weekly on your project in order to maximise the level of work output and that the quality is to the right level and grade you wish to achieve – remembering that this is often issued as a double module.
When you begin modelling, however that may be (CAD software, Simulations, physical testing etc), you must ensure that the depth of modelling you go into covers all of the objectives that you are looking to achieve and that the modelling is relevant to what you are trying to actually do. Is the component, system or test piece consistent with the actual component in terms of material, size, density, strength and the conditions that it is operated in such as distance from the ground, speed, humidity, air density and whatever else ensures that your modelling is as close to the real thing as possible.

Confirm that once you have completed your model and begin testing that throughout any modifications you make to the model, you ensure that the consistency of your testing is maintained in order to guarantee that your results are both reliable and accurate – this will allow you to analyse the results and further improve them which will make for a good evaluation and conclusion in your final report.

Validation of your model is important to warrant against the reliability of your modelling results. You will no doubt collate a large amount of data and results from your modelling but how can you ensure that what you are doing is actually correct? To help with this and to know that what you are doing is accurate you need to do some validation. What this means is to find another means of testing to ensure that the results trends follow that of your modelling. The numbers may not be the same but you are looking for trends. Validation can be anything from hand calculations to another form of physical testing or simulation, basically using another method other than your primary source of modelling and testing.

Next month we will move on to the final part of your final report which will be the analysis, evaluation and conclusion. This part is generally the most important part of the project and often carries the highest weighting of marks. After this we will then cover the Project Presentation/Viva.

See you in February!