An innovative organization called ASSESS Initiative LLC was formed by Joe Walsh in mid-2016 for bringing together the key players for guiding and influencing the software development and implementation strategies related to model-based analysis, simulation, and systems engineering, with the primary objective of expanding the use and business benefit of the many forms of engineering simulation.
The changing role of engineering simulation is really about business benefits. However, achieving those benefits and associated growth of the engineering simulation market is tempered due to the lack of understanding regarding its true benefits. According to ASSESS Initiative, a simulation revolution needs to occur that will bring a whole new set of opportunities as well as challenges.
The ASSESS (Analysis, Simulation & Systems Engineering Software Strategies) Initiative is a broad reaching multi-industry initiative with a primary goal to facilitate a revolution of enablement that will vastly increase the availability and utility of Engineering Simulation, leading to significantly increased usage and business benefits across the full spectrum of industries, applications and users. The vision of the ASSESS Initiative is to bring together key players for guiding and influencing the software tool strategies for performing model-based analysis, simulation, and systems engineering. To achieve this vision the ASSESS Initiative will collaborate with multiple activities and organizations across the broad spectrum of engineering simulation.
ASSESS Initiative has been organized around a key set of themes associated with expanding the usage and benefit of engineering simulation that include:
Align – Alignment of Commercial, Research and Government Efforts
Business – Business Challenges
Credibility– Engineering Simulation Credibility
DoES – Democratization of Engineering Simulation
Generative – Generative Design
Integration – Integration of Systems and Detailed Sub-System Simulations
ASSESS Initiative is planning on publishing a series of positioning papers and Strategic Insight papers related to each of these themes. The positioning papers will be publicly available from the ASSESS Initiative website, however, ASSESS Strategic Insight papers will be made available on a “members only” basis.
As part of this effort, the ASSESS Initiative recently released the first two positioning papers related to its themes above:
Alignment of Commercial, Research and Government Efforts (Align) Positioning Paper
Like a debate, position papers (sometimes called point of view papers) present one side of an arguable opinion about an issue; in this case engineering simulation. The goal of any position paper is to convince the audience that your opinion is valid and defensible. However, it is very important to ensure that you are addressing all sides of the issue and presenting it in a manner that is easy for your audience to understand – not always an easy case with engineering simulation. The biggest job is to take one side of the argument and persuade your audience that you have well-founded knowledge of the topic being presented. It is important to support your argument with evidence to ensure the validity of your claims, as well as to refute the counterclaims to show that you are well informed about both sides. ASSESS has succeeded on all counts with the publication of the first two papers.
The second paper is particularly interesting because the Democratization of Engineering Simulation is implemented in many forms. While there are many common characteristics, issues and opportunities across them all, there are also critical differences that need to be identified and explained, to enable a path to achievable solutions.
The first aspect of any form of implementation of DoES is whether or not it is driven by customers or providers of Engineering Simulation. The second aspect in any form of implementation of DoES is the type of customer that this form of implementation is intended to be used by (Large Enterprise, Small-Medium Business (SMB), Industry Consortium, mixture of customer types). The third aspect in any form of implementation of DoES is the “level” of democratization desired, that include:
Product/Project-level democratization – Democratization within a company, at a project level.
Product Development Process-level democratization – Democratization within a company, at a product level; crosses various departments involved in the development of a product; could be distributed globally.
Corporate Enterprise-level democratization – Democratization as a standard practice across an entire enterprise; the company has standardized simulation practices, wishes to enforce them globally, and has committed to putting simulation in the hands of everyone who needs it globally.
Industry-level democratization – Democratization across a particular industry; solution providers create applications that are targeted towards the particular needs of an industry and its products and promote democratization; these applications become widely used across the industry.
The ASSESS Initiative working group related to the Democratization of Engineering Simulation has established the following initial goals for the ASSESS activities related to this theme:
1. Highlight the issues, impediments, and opportunities related to Democratization of Engineering Simulation
2. Advocate for all people who could benefit from using engineering simulation to be able to use it appropriately
3. Advocate for getting engineering simulation safely into the hands of current non-users
4. Advocate for addressing engineering simulation ease of use and required expertise issues that are limiting its broader usage
5. Collaborate with other organizations (e.g. NAFEMS, Revolution in Simulation, …) to support the Democratization of Engineering Simulation
6. Advocate for and support growth in the use of engineering simulation by 10x in 5 years
The paper surmises that the Democratization of Engineering Simulation, not too surprisingly, is likely to require significant changes to current business models for engineering simulation software and computing infrastructures. The current business models for Engineering Simulation software is based on a small number of expert users that run simulations as their primary task. Democratization of Engineering Simulation requires that the use of engineering simulation is broadened to a large number of part-time users with the objective of having more technical personnel being able to make informed design decisions when needed.
This paper reinforces what we have witnessed over the past several years. Namely, engineering simulation being conducted earlier and more often in the product development process by “non-specialists,” such as designers and engineers.
These two papers bring some interesting insights into the present and future direction of engineering simulation on several different levels and I’m looking forward to reading more as they become available.
For more information: www.assessinitiative.com