Computer-Aided Design (CAD) is the use of a wide range of computer-based tools that assist engineers, architects and other design professionals in their design activities. CAD is used to design and develop products, which can be goods used by end consumers or intermediate goods used in other products. CAD is also extensively used in the design of tools and machinery used in the manufacture of components. Current CAD packages range from 2D vector based drafting systems to 3D parametric surface and solid design modelers.
The electronic applications of CAD, or Electronic Design Automation (EDA) includes schematic entry, PCB design, intelligent wiring diagrams (routing) and component connection management. Often, it integrates with a lite form of CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing). Computer-aided design is also starting to be used to develop software applications. Software applications share many of the same Product Life Cycle attributes as the manufacturing or electronic markets. As computer software becomes more complicated and harder to update and change, it is becoming essential to develop interactive prototypes or simulations of the software before doing any coding. The benefits of simulation before writing actual code cuts down significantly on re-work and bugs.