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

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

Dell Starts the Party at SXSW with Virtualization

After Dell made headlines last year for taking the publicly traded company private to allow it to innovate more freely, the company’s workstation division is having its “coming out party,” as Jeff Clark, who founded Dell’s workstation business 17 years ago called it. It’s a virtualization party, and the guest list includes the company’s software and hardware partners, as well as its customers.

The press event is taking place just a few miles up the road from Austin, where the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference begins tomorrow. At the event today, Dell announced that it is working with independent software vendors (ISVs), channel partners, virtualization software providers and its customers to move their applications from the desktop to the datacenter. The innovation comes in the knowledge of how to optimize virtualization for specific applications, so that software from Siemens, PTC, SolidWorks or Autodesk, for instance, runs as quickly as possible in a virtual environment.

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Lenovo ThinkStation S30: A Workstation To Keep Up With Your Imagination

Tom Weiss has an imagination with infinite computing cores. At any given moment, Weiss, project manager for ACME Scenic and Display, may be conjuring up complex theatrical sets, storefront displays, and museum exhibits. He and his colleagues were responsible for the full-sized mammoth and its natural habitat inside Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in Oregon; the Spartan statue guarding the NCAA Championship display inside the University of Tampa, Florida; and the Renaissance castle interior for Sarasota Opera’s performance of Otello.

But Weiss had a PC that couldn’t keep up with his thinking. The 20-min system boot, jagged graphics, jumpy cursor, and system crashes were beginning to try his patience. Continue reading

Prelude to GTC 2014: ANSYS to Speed Up Fluid Dynamics with GPUs

Just a month ahead of NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference 2014 (GTC 2014, March 24-27, San Jose, California), simulation software maker ANSYS is announcing its computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver can run significantly faster if you augment the CPU with NVIDIA GPUs.

Since compute-intensive simulation programs tend to test the limit of CPUs, software vendors like ANSYS seek to speed up the number-crunching by refining their solver codes to take advantage of the GPU’s parallel processing power. In 2013, ANSYS made it possible to improve the performance of ANSYS Mechanical — designed to test and simulate mechanical behaviors — using NVIDIA GPUs.

According to Ray Browell, ANSYS’ lead product manager, “Models as large as 12M degrees of freedom can be accelerated with a single K40 [GPU] and provide 2X performance gains over just CPUs [on ANSYS Mechanical 15.0]. Today’s announcement indicates those who use ANSYS Fluent — designed for simulating fluid and air flow — can now employ the GPU to accelerate their operations in a similar fashion. Continue reading






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