**Abstract** : High-energy physics data analysis relies heavily on the comparison between experimental and simulated data as stressed lately by the Higgs search at LHC and the recent identification of a Higgs-like new boson. The first link in the full simulation chain is the event generation both for background and for expected signals. Nowadays event generators are based on the automatic computation of matrix element or amplitude for each process of interest. Moreover, recent analysis techniques based on the matrix element likelihood method assign probabilities for every event to belong to any of a given set of possible processes. This method originally used for the top mass measurement, although computing intensive, has shown its power at LHC to extract the new boson signal from the background. Serving both needs, the automatic calculation of matrix element is therefore more than ever of prime importance for particle physics. Initiated in the eighties, the techniques have matured for the lowest order calculations (tree-level), but become complex and CPU time consuming when higher order calculations involving loop diagrams are necessary like for QCD processes at LHC. New calculation techniques for next-to-leading order (NLO) have surfaced making possible the generation of processes with many final state particles (up to 6). If NLO calculations are in many cases under control, although not yet fully automatic, even higher precision calculations involving processes at 2-loops or more remain a big challenge. After a short introduction to particle physics and to the related theoretical framework, we will review some of the computing techniques that have been developed to make these calculations automatic. The main available packages and some of the most important applications for simulation and data analysis, in particular at LHC will also be summarized.