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NAFEMS17: 5 Big Discussions For The Simulation Community

Home » Blog » NAFEMS17: 5 Big Discussions For The Simulation Community

We are just days away from the NAFEMS17 World Congress in Stockholm, Sweden, and excitement is building in the global simulation community, as well as here at Envenio HQ.

This year, NAFEMS have given strong thought to some of the key topics arising not only in their working and steering groups, but also in the wider community and among simulation activists.

After the conference, we shall further examine the outcomes of the various keynote presentations, discussions, and interviews that take place, but in this article, we want to uncover some of the big discussions on the agenda, and why they matter to us all.

Generating Confidence In Simulation Capability

Generating confidence in the capability of the simulation team is essential to move analysis from being a ‘tick box’ in the design process to a strategic capability. It is fair to say that the industry landscape is changing, so reluctance to embrace change can be expected in some form.

It is important to understand that it is a progression towards a level of confidence, with a number of steps that need to be taken, rather than an immediate activity. This progressive path for verification and validation is being discussed by the Analysis Management Working Group as part of the wider topic of simulation governance.

When establishing simulation credibility, overestimating or under-estimating credibility can be problematic. Blind confidence in simulation results, without undertaking adequate V&V activities, and the sophistication of the presented results can blind engineers and product managers, leading them to be over-confident in the quality of results. Concerns about the challenges of V&V activities and previous experience with poor quality simulations can similarly lead to decision makers lacking confidence in their results. 

Congress Sessions To Look Out For: Keynote – Tuesday June 13th, On the Formulation and Application of Design Rules, B. Szabó (Engineering Software Research & Development, USA)

Keynote – Tuesday June 13th, On the Balance and Integration of Simulation and Test in Engineering Structural Dynamics, D. Ewins (Imperial College London, GBR)

Extending The Benefits Of Simulation To Non-Expert Users

Another hot topic in the simulation community is the issue of placing simulation into the hands of the non-expert. NAFEMS acts as something of an advocate when it comes to the deployment of simulation, with the key concerns being that if the capabilities are not controlled, errors or incorrect assumptions may lead to simulation ultimately being viewed with suspicion.

'Democratisation' has become something of a buzz word in the industry, with the Oxford Dictionaries listing its definition as 'the action of making something available to everyone'. 

Here at Envenio, we maintain the belief that CFD simulation software should be available for all, with our own EXN/Aero solver being both affordable and accessible. Our development team have worked to create an easy-to-use interface that reduces computational demands, and is available on an on-demand, monthly basis.

Congress Sessions To Look Out For: Session 2B - Monday June 12th – 13:45, Democratisation 1. Session 7J - Wednesday June 14th – 10:45, Democratisation 2.

Using Simulation Capability To Support Product Certification

Engineering analysis and simulation can dramatically reduce the cost and time involved in the experimental testing that is required to design a product. Running validation activities can also prove key to providing confidence in simulation credibility. 

“Most regulators are uncomfortable with simulation-based certification, generally they are happier with simulation-informed certification – a balance between experiment, simulation, and credibility assurance.” – William Oberkampf. 

We have previously analyzed simulation vs real world testing, and our conclusions mirror that of Oberkampf's. While simulation has enabled insight into areas where real world testing is dangerous, costly, or impractical, real-world testing cannot be totally ruled out. A combination of both simulation and real-world testing, can prove a powerful cocktail. We investigated real-world testing vs simulation in a recent article.

Safety critical applications need to have a better understanding of the predictive capability of their simulations and in these areas, simulations are being used to support safety decisions. Regulators must understand simulation, its benefits and its risks, and it should be noted that there is now top level industry recognition of a need to move towards more simulation-based certification. 

NAFEMS is playing a key role in helping regulators understand the strengths and weaknesses of simulation, but work still remains when it comes to changing the test-based culture in regulatory bodies or organizations, who could still better understand and use simulation.

Congress Sessions To Look Out For: Keynote – Monday June 12th, Smarter Testing Through Simulation for Efficient Design and Attainment of Regulatory Compliance, S. Chisholm (Boeing Commercial Airplanes, USA)

The Simulation Engineer & System Engineer Relationship

Systems Engineering (SE) involves an integration of multiple disciplines to form a development process that proceeds from concept to production. As modern products see an increase in their complexity, this is happening not just on a component level but on a system level - across products and processes. For this reason, the role the systems engineer has become much more prevalent. 

The CAE discipline certainly has a key role in the systems engineering framework.

The "traditional" CAE expert was and often still is focused on high-fidelity simulations in areas like CFD and FEA. To support a normal engineering process entirely on such level is commercially, and from a time-to-market perspective, not sustainable. One option to address this is to make simulation tools available to non-simulation engineers through automating any repeating simulation processes as much as possible.

A more efficient approach though is to utilize the upfront screening power of lower-fidelity modeling and simulation to narrow down the final design and then apply higher-fidelity modeling. At that point the highly qualified CAE expert focuses mainly on those higher fidelity projects and is responsible for developing new simulation techniques and process which will be rolled out to the other engineering areas.

Congress Sessions To Look Out For: Session 7K-8K – Wednesday June 14th, 10:45 & 13:15, Systems Modeling & Simulation 1 & 2

Addressing New HPC Trends

With experts predicting that the end is nigh for Moore's Law, the industry must address where this leaves the software engineer and their day-to-day practices. NAFEMS17 will provide a good platform to discuss the latest insight into the potential demise of Moore's Law, and the reaction from global industry.

For many organizations, the requirement for HPC capabilities is sporadic and not continuous. In such instances, users can benefit from an SaaS approach (Software as a Service) or pay-as-you-simulate and there are a number of cloud providers offering that and in some cases, the software licenses are also available on that basis.

An area particularly relevant to Envenio, is the subject of the cloud. Cloud services provide growth potential for engineers using workstations, and it should be noted that if HPC is already being used, the question is whether it is more cost effective to run on the cloud or in-house. 

There are significant benefits in running simulations on larger and more powerful computer systems and the barriers that have held back progress are being removed. The Cloud is extremely valuable for many users and it is growing rapidly. It is fair to say however, that there are still many misconceptions in cloud computing, and you can read more about our view on these issues in this article

“The question is not, and in most cases never should be HPC vs Cloud. It really should be about Cloud as a growth potential for people using workstations.” Andrew Jones. 

Congress Sessions To Look Out For: Session 1D – Monday 12th June – 11:00, Cloud Computing 1. Session 2D – Monday 12th June – 13:55, Cloud Computing 2. Session 4J – Monday 12th June – 17:30, Discussion Session - Trends in HPC.

The Countdown Is On

NAFEMS17 takes place from 11th-14th June, in Stockholm, Sweden. 

The High Performance Engineer

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2017-06-5 | Categories: CFD, simulations, HPC