The ASSESS Initiative and the Future of Simulation

Everybody familiar with modern engineering and design practice knows that there is a great gap now between CAD and CAE software usage. While modern CAD (including 3D) software became the everyday tool of millions of engineers and designers, analysis and simulation software (especially advanced versions) still remains an instrument of a limited number of highly specialized experts. As designed objects have become more and more complex and wide use of analysis and simulation even on preliminary design phase is now a must-have condition for effective design decisions, this gap creates a serious obstacle for effective engineering practice and should be overcome.

To achieve this, 40 ambassadors from the analysis, simulation, and systems engineering software industry exchanged their thoughts and ideas at a summit hosted by the Santa Fe Institute in January of 2015. The ambassadors represented all sides of design and engineering activity – leading software vendors (Autodesk, Bentley Systems, Dassault Systemes, ANSYS, CD-Adapco Group, Flow Science, MSC Software, MathWorks, Modelon, as well as several new innovative CAD/CAE developers), leading commercial customers (Boeing, General Motors, Procter & Gamble, Deere & Company, Parker Hannifin) and academic users (Santa Fe Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, Sandia National Laboratories), representatives of NAFEMS Association, market experts from Cyon Research, IntrinSIM, CIMdata and Gartner. The result of the summit was the ASSESS initiative ( which proposed the whole vision for the future of analysis and simulation software and defined it in the following 8 main issues.

  • A move to Design-Centered Workflow in which the simulation would be performed by non-experts (designers) in close integration with other CAD tools to drive effective design decisions.
  • The development and wide usage of Pre-CAD Analysis and Optimization software tools (such as topology optimization) to drive very early design decisions at the conceptual and pre-design stage. The goal is to leverage simulation as a design driver to review concepts, compare options, and get to the design to be finalized rather than working with design data fully featured for manufacturing.
  • The ability to incorporate into simulations the appropriate physics fidelity at adequate speed with quantified error. There is a need to move to performing the right level of analysis as quickly as possible to answer the design or behavior question at hand within the appropriate accuracy. The reasonable practical trade off between complexity of calculation model, accuracy of result and speed of calculation should be achieved.
  • Knowledge capture and reuse tools should be proposed along with CAE software, to capture and reuse experts’ knowledge and experience both on creating appropriate calculation models on different design stages and appropriate interpretation of analysis results and decision making based on the results. A wide community of non-expert users should get access to this knowledge in different forms (embedded wizards and helps, special wikis, forums and others).
  • The ability to combine heterogeneous models in an auto- mated and reliable way for multi-discipline analysis and optimization should be provided. Simulation environments and integration tools should deliver the ability to effectively work with complex systems containing components with different representation and fidelity.
  • Ease of Use & Usability of CAE software has to focus on enabling the user to leverage Systems Engineering and Simulation to achieve his goals and make decisions in a timely manner without requiring extensive expertise. This probably requires layered access to software features/ options (similar to level of detailing in 3D viewing).
  • Web/Cloud/Mobile deployment of simulation software should make it available on any device and at any location and significantly decrease total cost of ownership for end users.
  • Licensing models should be revisited, to make them more flexible and affordable for different categories of users.

The ASSESS vision of simulation’s future isn’t something we need to build from scratch. Many vendors already follow this road map. For example, Autodesk users clearly see the serious efforts the company puts into making Autodesk Simulation software more user-friendly, CAD-integrated and Cloud-aware (Cloud solving option).

Piping System Research & Engineering (PSRE) Company, a professional CAE software developer for piping and vessels analysis and one of the initial participants in the ASSESS initiative, completely shares the ASSESS vision and makes it a point to follow this vision in its software products.


Fig. 1. Fragment of START help system explaining correct usage of expansion joint in piping design

PSRE analysis software was developed “by engineers for engineers” from the very beginning, combining the most advanced and effective special calculation models and numerical methods with intuitive and easy to use model and result representation. Both new and experienced users can customize level of GUI and model detailing depending on design stage and user goals. Context help, manuals and video tutorials provide users with experts’ knowledge not only how to create appropriate calculation models and read results, but also of how to understand and interpret national standards and even of how to apply correctly typical design solutions (for example, piping expansion joints).

Software interoperability and integration is always one of our highest priorities. Our software products are not only highly integrated with each other and successfully work together, but also are integrated with almost all most widely used 3D plant and piping CAD systems, including Plant3D and other Autodesk software. Piping hydraulic and thermal analysis Hydrosystem software also can work together with the ProSim Simulis Thermodynamic library and VSX – VOGEL SOFTWARE advanced centrifugal pump selection Spaix software. And more software integration projects are on the way!

The PSRE software licensing scheme is flexible, with local and network licenses, permanent licensing and different leasing options at an affordable initial price. And we hope soon to offer our customers access to part of our software functionality in the Cloud and from mobile devices.

Fig. 2. Import of piping geometry from Plant3D into Hydrosystem software via PCF format

Fig. 2. Import of piping geometry from Plant3D into Hydrosystem software via PCF format

Of course, we are still at the beginning of implementing the ASSESS vision in full scale, and we look forward to working with all customers and software developers on this journey. And we hope that the First ASSESS Congress ( will push such cooperation ahead.

Join the ASSESS initiative, and let us work together for better future of Simulation!

korelLeonid Korelstein is a VP on Research and Software Development at PSRE Co and Product Manager of several PSRE analysis programs. He is also Associate Professor in D. Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, sharing with students his deep knowledge and wide experience in Plant CAD/CAE.

Leonid has got his Master degree in Applied Mathematics in Moscow Oil and gas University and PhD degree in Mathematics and Physics at Institute for Problems in Mechanics of the Russian Academy of Science. He is now active participant of AIChE DIERS pressure relief design and TUFFP multiphase flow activity, SPE Flow Assurance Forum, and ASSESS initiative.

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