cloud computing

Adding Cognition, Machine Learning, and Prediction to Products: a Far-Fetched Dream or Worthy Endeavor?

Every year, at Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES), industry leaders gather to discuss — and sometimes speculate on — characteristics and attributes of the tools and technologies next-generation engineers and designers might need. This year (COFES 2014, April 2014), in the track titled “Cognition?,” Engineering News Record‘s editor Tom Sawyer asked, “With the formation of the IBM Watson Group, we are at the early stages of deployment of what can thought of as applied cognition … What are the implications and opportunities for design and engineering?” Later, a roundtable discussion continued the talk: “[IBM] Watson’s combination of natural-language capabilities and an ability to generate hypotheses should be able to address big problems in fields such as customer relations, finance, healthcare, and R&D … What will machine cognition mean to engineering and design?”

In a room just a few doors down from Sawyer’s discussion group, Microsoft’s PLM Solutions director Simon Floyd hosted a track to discuss “Microsoft’s role in machine learning, predictive analytics, advanced decision-making, and the impact on design & engineering.” Another roundtable posed the possibility of “Swarms, Autonomous Devices, and Self-Programming Machines.” The summary read, “Design theory and concepts are emerging for these autonomous systems — particularly for swarms of multiple-specialty systems, and for systems that design systems. What types of tools will we need to do this? What’s our role once they have been set in motion? How do we build in safety? What don’t we know?” Continue reading

PTC: Not Your Father’s CAD Company

To be fair, PTC has been moving away from its mechanical engineering roots for quite some time, expanding into Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) with the 2011 acquisition of MSK Integrity and branching out even further with the Servigistics deal, which launched it into the service lifecycle management space.

With last December’s $112 million of ThingWorx, PTC set its sights on the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape, and if this week’s PTC Live 2014 event is any indication, it is it where PTC is directing its future. Beyond the launch of Creo 3.0 (details to follow later), the event was chock full of keynotes, customer presentations, and announcements in the SLM, embedded software, and IoT space, with very little talk of traditional CAD and PLM mechanical engineering software. 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

Autodesk Nudges Customers Toward Subscription with Upgrade Deadline

The warning shot was fired last November. It came in the form of a notice to Autodesk customers. This was perhaps the portion that deserves to be in red letters:

As of February 1, 2015, Autodesk will no longer offer the option to purchase upgrades for all non-current product versions.

In other words, if you’re still using older versions of the company’s software (say, AutoCAD 2008 or Inventor 2010), you have until February 2015 to buy an upgrade to move to the latest version. If you want to get the latest version after February 2015, you’ll have to pay full price for the new version; you won’t have the option to pay the upgrade fee to get it. Continue reading

Introducing Hardi Meybaum, Author

Hardi Meybaum, founder and CEO of GrabCAD, now has a new job title. In a few weeks, when his first book The Art of Product Design (Wiley, 2014) goes on sale, he’ll proudly add “author” to his list of professional descriptions.

Most people know him as the man behind the popular 3D content exchange community GrabCAD. Since its birth in 2010, the online portal has grown at a remarkable pace. At last count (today), it houses 374,000 files from more than 1,066,000 members. But Hardi’s journey began in Estonia, a Baltic state that broke free from Soviet Russia in 1991. His brainchild GrabCAD is an immigrant success story for the era of Facebook and iPhone. Continue reading