The major influence on the reliability of electronics is temperature, yet thermal/fluid modeling is plagued with uncertainties and unknowns. Nonetheless, if appropriate values of these unknown parameters are available for any specific electronics package, then its temperature response can be accurately predicted using modern thermal/fluid analysis tools.

Historically, thermal/fluid modeling began as a means of validating and sometimes correcting passively cooled designs that had been proposed by nonspecialists in heat transfer and fluid flow. As dissipation fluxes have risen, and as air cooling reaches the limits of its usefulness, involvement of thermal engineers is required earlier in the design process. Thermal engineers are now commonly responsible for sizing and selecting active cooling components such as fans and heat sinks, and increasingly single and two-phase coolant loops.