Computer-aided engineering (often referred to as CAE) is the use of information technology to support engineers in tasks such as analysis, simulation, design, manufacture, planning, diagnosis, and repair. Software tools that have been developed to support these activities are considered CAE tools. CAE tools are being used, for example, to analyze the robustness and performance of components and assemblies. The term encompasses simulation, validation, and optimization of products and manufacturing tools. In the future, CAE systems will be major providers of information to help support design teams in decision making.
In regard to information networks, CAE systems are individually considered a single node on a total information network and each node may interact with other nodes on the network.
CAE systems can provide support to businesses. This is achieved by the use of reference architectures and their ability to place information views on the business process. Reference architecture is the basis from which information model, especially product and manufacturing models.
The term CAE has also been used by some in the past to describe the use of computer technology within engineering in a broader sense than just engineering analysis. It was in this context that the term was coined by Dr. Jason Lemon, founder of SDRC in the late 70's. This definition is however better known today by the terms CAx and PLM.