American Ivan Sutherland invented CAD in 1961 when he described a computerized sketchpad in a doctoral thesis while attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He designed CAD to replace the traditional drafting board and other tools drafters used, such as the ink pen, plastic stencil, and electric eraser. Early CAD software ran on large, expensive computers. Today, engineers can run CAD software on personal computers or UNIX workstations.
Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) Engineers use CAD to create two- and three-dimensional drawings, such as those for automobile and airplane parts, floor plans, and maps. While it may be faster for an engineer to create an initial drawing by hand, it is much more efficient to change and distribute drawings by computer.