If you suffered through English lit in high school or college, some teacher forced you to endure Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” In it, Vladimir and Estragon fret and fritter away every minute vainly awaiting the imminent appearance of a stranger named Godot, who never arrives. A painful, er, classic absurdist play it is, but something of an apt metaphor for so many companies that muddle along with technology that cannot handle their simulation needs because they’re waiting for a technological breakthrough that is surely coming real soon now. Today’s Check it Out link takes you to a white paper that demonstrates that the breakthrough — wait, make that “the breakthroughs” — arrived while you waited.
“The Future is Now” is a nine-page white paper released today to you and the engineering community with this Check it Out column. It was produced by the editors of Desktop Engineering and sponsored by Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA and IBM. Beyond this introduction, I played no role in the creation of this paper.
The quick take on “The Future is Now” is that it’s all about how you can achieve bigger, better and more realistic simulations that lead to more innovative designs if you pair simulation software with an HPC (high-performance computing) cluster. But it’s about way more than that. “The Future is Now” is about change. Change in how simulation software operates. Change in what computing hardware can offer you. Change in how you build, manage and interact with an HPC cluster. And change in how you perceive your innovation processes.
The paper begins with a bird’s-eye view of the pressures faced by automotive, aerospace and defense, consumer electronics, industrial machinery and other engineering concerns. You know the suspects. You contend with them every day: Nimble competitors large and small from around the world, tight budgets, governmental regulations, product complexity, shorter development cycles and ad nauseam.
Simulation has proven itself to be a core capability to compete while simultaneously reducing expenses by minimizing the need for frequent physical prototypes. But as the pressures facing your business managers fall on you to solve, you’re equipped with workstations that cannot handle the simulation load or an HPC setup that is difficult to use. So, you run fewer or less detailed simulations or maybe both. Either way, you innovate and differentiate your products that much less.
Now, in theory HPC has the scalable horsepower to do the job. Except that you couldn’t afford it. They can be a bear to implement and manage. The freeware tools to configure and schedule jobs, balance loads and keep costs down require special staff training and, because there is little in the way of formal support, prove impossibly expensive to maintain and enhance.
Times have changed. Dassault’s SIMULIA Abaqus simulation suite evolved into a parallel processing powerhouse that supports multiple cores and processors inherent to HPC clusters, enabling significant performance boosts. This, in turn, led to more optimization studies and more innovation. Then, IBM Technical Computing brought its expertise to bear to deliver HPC systems with integrated, well-supported and user-friendly workload and resource management tools that made good price/performance sense for small- and mid-sized companies or engineering departments in large companies who are left to fend for themselves by corporate IT.
Still, you were not quite there yet: Having an HPC cluster and Abaqus simulation software doesn’t mean that you had an optimized solution. This is where the paper introduces the IBM Application Ready Solution for Abaqus. In essence, this means a range of “black box solutions” that unite HPC cluster hardware — storage, interconnects, memory and other components — and management software with Abaqus to create an optimized solution tailored to your simulation processes, such as remote 2D/3D visualization or large workloads. The idea here is simple: Build an HPC cluster optimized to execute Abaqus that is easy to operate and maintain so that you can innovate and compete more than you could before.
The paper details the how’s and why’s of this in much greater granularity. It has metrics on costs and time saved. It’s enhanced with a real-world case study and an excellent primer on what goes into an HPC cluster. It also provides reference links to on-demand webinars (must see), technical papers and product details. And, with Abaqus as a co-partner, the paper is well illustrated with some terrific images of the kinds of complex and realistic simulations that would tie up an ordinary engineering workstation for weeks that you can realize using an HPC cluster in a few hours or less.
“The Future is Now” demonstrates that a series of technological breakthroughs enabling and driving one another can change how you optimize your products. Don’t wait until tomorrow to hit today’s Check it Out link and download your complimentary copy of this new white paper.
Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering