ASSESS Initiative and the Future of Simulation – Converting Dreams into Reality
In last year’s (2016) issue of Autodesk® Partner Solution Design Guide I had previously written about the ASSESS Initiative and our vision of analysis and simulation software future, developed by leading experts of CAE vendors, commercial customers and academic users.
Below, let’s revisit the 8 main objectives and issues of the ASSESS initiative intended to make analysis and simulation software an everyday tool of ordinary designer:
- 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 ability to incorporate the appropriate physics fidelity at adequate speed with quantified error into simulations.
- Knowledge capture and reuse tools should be used alongside CAE software, in order to capture experts’ and reuse knowledge, while both create appropriate calculation models at different design stages leading to an appropriate interpretation of analysis results and decision making on their base.
- Providing the ability to combine heterogeneous models in an automated and reliable way for multi-discipline analysis and optimization.
- Ease of Use & Usability of CAE software has to focus on enabling the user to leverage Systems Engineering and Simulation to achieve their goals and make decisions in a timely manner without requiring extensive expertise layered access to software features/options (similar to level of detailing in 3D viewing).
- Web/Cloud/Mobile deployment of simulation software will make it available on any device at any location and significantly decrease total cost of ownership for the end user.
- Licensing models must be revisited, to make them more flexible and affordable for different categories of users.
In 2016, the ASSESS Initiative has already made important steps forward to convert these ideas to reality.
ASSESS Discussions Under the Snow Drift
The first step was at the ASSESS Congress held on January 20th-22nd of this year (2016) at the Bolger Center in Potomac, Maryland. The event was organized by initiators of ASSESS movement – Brad Holtz, President and CEO of Cyon Research, and Joe Walsh, CEO of IntrinSIM. This full scale event coincided with a huge snow storm that hit Maryland and Washington DC, blocking all traffic from the event place (Pic.1) and preventing attendees from leaving early. It was as if Mother Nature herself decided to provide all-day, all-event participants. With representation from leading vendors, famous commercial and academic users, there was plenty of time during the event for in-depth discussions in large and smaller groups.
The packed event’s agenda included 3 keynotes by Jesse Citizen (Director of M&SCO), Roger Burkhart (Technology Architect at John Deere) and Zack Eckblad (Intel), who presented their experiences of using the Analysis and Simulation software in their organizations along with ASSESS ideas. Rodney Dreisbach (Senior Technical Fellow at Boeing (retired)) inspired us with a full-scale presentation that gave us a deep look into the next generation of engineering simulation. Brad Holtz presented some new, interesting, and even surprising market research results. Attendees of the presentation found out, for example, that end users rather than vendors better understand the importance of unglamorous stuff as sensitivity analysis and uncertainty qualification.
It was, however, more important that the Congress gave all participants opportunities to discuss and share their ideas, approaches to the objectives, and achievements with each other. Two rounds of briefings on the first day (out of 16 total briefings) included reporting a myriad of research results and advances related to ASSESS agenda. I was genuinely frustrated that I didn’t possess the technology to clone myself and take part in all of them! So I will mention now the one report that most inspired me – it was Ken Welch presentation of new SIMSOLID structural analysis software, based on innovating mess-free calculation technology. The fact that this technology (The Method of External Finite Element Approximations) was invented, studied and implemented by one of my old schoolmates, a mathematician from Belarus Victor Apanovich makes it especially inspiring.
On the 2nd day all participants split to 7 workgroups related to key ASSESS topics:
- Democratization of simulation
- Confidence of simulation results
- Business challenge
- Heterogeneous models
- Aligning Commercial, Government, and Research Interests and Efforts
- Potential game changers
- Looking forward
Each group had a 3 hour brainstorm to elaborate specific approaches and further steps to address the challenges on related issues. The brainstorms were very productive, and the results were reported by group leaders to the Congress plenary meeting, and later to COFES 2016 meeting.
ASSESS Advisory Committee and Start of Regular Work
To implement and move forward with objectives, the ASSESS movement needed some organizational frame. An Advisory Committee of 55 members-volunteers was created (including the author of this article) under the leadership of Joe Walsh. The Committee first met at COFES 2016 in April 2016 and now has regular online meetings.
The first task was became creating ASSESS initiative documents (an ASSESS manifesto) that would explain to everybody our ideas and intentions. This work was practically finished and as I started this article, the documents are ready for acceptance and distribution. The most important part is the way we are going to convert our vision into practice. To do this, the ASSESS Initiative under the guidance of the ASSESS Initiative Advisory Committee will be utilizing a variety of tactics, including but not limited to:
- Supporting an annual ASSESS Congress that brings together the community of domain experts, industry analysts, software providers, researchers, and others in the community of Engineering Simulation to review the current status, issues, goals and actionable items of the ASSESS Initiative;
- Creating multiple opportunities for meetings, discussion and experience exchange;
- Facilitating collaborative assessment and planning across the community of domain experts, industry analysts, software providers, and the researchers targeted at increasing the usage and benefit of Engineering Simulation;
- Enabling focused research activities targeted at addressing the key themes and challenges around ASSESS;
- Promoting breakthrough technologies for more effective and more efficient Engineering Simulation solutions;
- Encouraging software strategies in line with the ASSESS philosophy:
- “Fit for Purpose” Apps
- Knowledge capture & reuse
- Shareable software components
- Collecting and publishing ASSESS success stories;
- Supporting appropriate standards development
Aside from the ASSESS Manifesto working group, 7 other groups were created and started their work in frame of ASSESS Advisory Committee: Funding possibilities; Benefits and values; Democratization of engineering software; Confidence of engineering simulation; Business challenges; Intersection of systems and classical simulation; Alignment of Government, research and commercial. The plan is to report the result of Advisory Committee and Working groups to COFES 2017 in April 2017. The ASSESS manifesto and a demonstration of the simulation software for consumers also is planned. A new ASSESS web site and other internet resources intended to provide access to interested parties is currently in the works as well.
The next ASSESS Congress is schedule to 17 Oct 2017.
How ASSESS topics resonate at 2016 events
To add to the review of Engineering simulation in 2016, I’d like to share some personal impressions from big 2016 CAD/CAE events – COFES 2016 and CAE Conference 2016. It really is surprising how quickly the process of implementing innovations in CAE goes now through classical 3-phase workflow (“it is impossible” – “ there may be some sense in it” – “it’s just a commonplace!”). Cloud simulation was used in some way in almost 50% of reports on CAE Conference, and design optimization by simulation (very often using heterogeneous models) was considered the default option! The instruments for multi-objective and multi-disciplinary optimization are already available (as an example – modeFRONTIER by Esteco) and in usage, and topology optimization is on the rise. One of the most interesting events of COFES 2016 was a special briefing by famous Ted Blacker from Sandia National Laboratories, who demonstrated special software for it and the results ready for 3D printing.
The biggest shock for the author of this piece was COFES 2016 plenary presentation and a briefing from Andrew Hessel, Distinguished Researcher in Bio/Nano Research Group of Autodesk13. Andrew’s research discovered that computer simulation in DNA synthesis and bioengineering is now developing with such speed that the results can totally change the life of our generation. This is very promising if even a bit terrifying. Kudos to Autodesk for continued support in funding these innovation researches!
PSRE – Leading by Example
Piping System Research & Engineering (PSRE) Company is a professional CAE software developer for piping and vessels analysis and one of initial participants of ASSESS initiative. PSRE completely shares ASSESS vision and makes its best to follow this vision in its software products. We think that the best argument for anybody to follow ASSESS principles is to set a good personal example. Here are our 2 most interesting advances in 2016:
Free Cloud START Express online stress analysis service for piping elements and typical piping assemblies was developed in 2016 and is available for everybody from desktops, tablets and smartphones (Pic.2). The system automatically adapts to customer device.
In our multiphase flow software Hydrosystem we implemented one of the most modern and advanced models – the Unified model from Tulsa University Fluid Flow Projects (TUFFP). In order to correctly define all settings (closure relations) for the model, multiphase flow expert is necessary. So we decided to use TUFFP experimental database for multiphase flow; we developed and embedded into the software an expert knowledge system. Now Hydrosystem finds the most suitable settings for dimensional parameters of the user’s multiphase flow on the base of available and embedded into the software experimental results. In this way our software now able to provide more accurate multiphase flow simulation for non-expert users!
We also plan to make Hydrosystem, Safety Valve, Nozzle-FEM and some other our software available in the cloud using Frame, and following Autodesk’s example already tested them under Frame.
Follow our web-site for the latest news! www.truboprovod.ru
Join ASSESS initiative, and let us work together for a better future of Simulation!