Computer modeling is used in various engineering fields. I am specifically considering structural analysis or finite element analysis (FEA). Sometimes models are used to speed up repetitive calculations that could be done by hand. Sometimes models are used to perform calculations that are not easy or even possible to do by hand.
There are a few standard methods for checking the results of computer models.
- Run verification models and confirm that the results match a previously calculated answer.
- Run simple models that can be checked by hand calculations.
- Test physical models.
The problem with the first two checking methods above is that they either only check specific situations or they only check the simple parts of the program.
The physical model method can be expensive for full size models and scale models may not always give the same results as the full size.
This leaves a gap in what results can be checked. For any complicated model, there is no easy way to check that the results from the program are correct. The engineer must trust that the software produced correct results from the model.
The model could be input into two different programs (made by different companies). The assumption is that if the results of the two models are similar enough, then the results should be correct for the model used. This would not catch any errors in creating the original model, but it would catch errors in the software implementation.
- Could two separate programs be used to check the "correctness" of the results from the model?
- Would using this method of comparing a model in two separate programs provide the same level of assurance in the results as any of the other checking methods?
- What could be the disadvantages of using this procedure?