General

Prelude to COFES 2014: Time to Break the Code To Rebuild It?

The iPhone’s Siri and Windows’ upcoming Cortana may not be as intrusive as the fictional AI Samantha from the Sci-fi rom-com Her, but, with every new incarnation, they would get more personal, more intelligent, more AI-like. (You can bet they’ll remember your appointments better than you do.) Game consoles like Xbox Kinect can now “see” you, in a manner of speaking; using camera view, they can process, remember, and respond to your gestures and expressions. Yet, most engineering and design software still seems entrenched in the mouse-and-keyboard paradigm. Will Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES) yield an inspiring outlook for the state of CAD, CAM, CAE? Continue reading

Battling Robots Help MathWorks Get Aspiring Engineers in its Corner

An epic battle. Access to one of the country’s largest makerspaces and the latest in design tools and fabrication technologies. A mere two weeks to build and design an autonomous robot that will take down the competition.

No, this is not a Discovery Channel TV competition, but rather a local, in-person event sponsored by MathWorks, Autodesk, Artisan’s Asylum, and SparkFun Electronics. The Autonomous Robot Design Challenge, set to kick off this week in Somerville, MA, is the latest in MathWorks’ on-going efforts to court up-and-coming engineers with a variety of in-school and out-of-school learning initiatives. Continue reading

NVIDIA GTC 2014: The Dawn of Pascal; the Rise of the Machines

At NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC, March 24-27, San Jose, California), the self-driving Audi Connect upstaged even NVIDIA’s enigmatic CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. The autonomous vehicle drove itself onto the stage, providing the big finish to Huang’s keynote. But the Audi’s presence may have a purpose greater than the Wow factor. Huang suggests the GPU would play a crucial role in machine learning.

As he stepped up to deliver his keynote address to the GPU faithfuls in San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center, Huang quipped, “A good friend said [GTC] is like the Woodstock of computational mathematicians. I hope it turns out the same way.”

For the past several years, NVIDIA has worked to redefine the GPU’s identity. The company’s message: The graphics processor is not just for fueling the blood, gore, and explosions in video games and movies. When bunched together, they have sufficient firepower to tackle large-scale problems that affect humanity — from accurate weather simulation to DNA sequencing. For the era of the Internet of Things (IoT), that means automated parsing of visual cues to make decisions. Continue reading

Autodesk Releases Inventor HSM, a CAD-Integrated CAM Product

For a long time, HSMWorks for SolidWorks was the envy of Autodesk Inventor users. The computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) program was best known for its tight integration with SolidWorks’ CAD program. Even the “-Works” in HSMWorks, I suspect, might have been the creators’ deliberate tie to SolidWorks in branding. The only way the SolidWorks-HSMWorks integration could have been tighter was for Dassault Systemes, SolidWorks’ parent company, to acquire HSMWorks.

HSMWorks eventually did get bought, but not by Dassault. It was by Autodesk, which owns SolidWorks’ CAD rival Autodesk Inventor. The fierce competition between SolidWorks and Inventor notwithstanding, the new owner vows to keep HSMWorks interoperable with SolidWorks. At the same time, the lack of an Inventor-integrated HSMWorks became an imbalance that needs to be corrected. This week, the correction comes in the form of Autodesk Inventor HSM, a CAD-CAM bundle that includes both Autodesk Inventor design software and CAM features. Continue reading

NVIDIA GTC 2014: Find Your Device in the Cloud

This week, at NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC, March 24-27, San Jose, California), NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang was almost upstaged by an Audi. The self-driving Audi Connect drove itself onto the stage, providing the big finish for Haung’s keynote on Monday.

Before he shared the stage with a driver-less car, Huang also shared the stage with Ben Fathi, CTO of VMware, the company that might foster enterprises operating in a computer-less environment. Haung introduced Fathi as the point man from “the largest and one of the most important virtualization companies in the world.”

Fathi and Huang took the opportunity to discuss Horizon DaaS, VMware’s business that delivers Windows desktops as virtual machines available on-demand, accessible remotely. Just as SaaS vendors deliver software as a service over the internet, VMware plans to deliver “Windows desktops and applications as a cloud service, to any device, anywhere, with predictable costs,” explained the company.

The foundation technology is NVIDIA Grid’s GPU-based HPC hardware, and VMware’s cloud setup. VMware’s partner NaviSite is the first to offer Horizon DaaS products to enterprises. Later, in 2015, virtual GPUs will become part of Horizon DaaS offerings. Continue reading

 

 

 

 

 

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