Mike Kidder, VP of marketing at Altair Engineering, described computer fluid dynamics (CFD) as “The one component that has been missing” in the company’s technology portfolio. “We’ve been kind of on the lookout for a really high-end technology for CFD solution.”
Not that Altair hasn’t tried its hands at developing a CFD solver in-house. Ultimately, the company concluded, as Kidder explained, “Acquisition made more sense than development.”
Altair found what it wanted in ACUSIM, based in Mountain View, California. Founded by Dr. Farzin Shakib, ACUSIM is best known for its CFD solver named AcuSolve. Dr. Shakib has 26 years of CFD software development experience under his belt, along with a few years of work at NASA Ames Research Center. AcuSolve’s customer list includes Bechtel, Chevron, John Deere, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, and Whirlpool.
Yesterday, Altair snatched up ACUSIM for an unspecified sum. “I think it was the right partner, the right technology, and the right time to do it,” noted Kidder. Altair’s culture, Kidder said, “is all technologists, from the CEO down.” And in ACUSIM’s corporate makeup, Kidder saw a firm “very reminiscent of Altair’s culture when we were that size.”
“The acquisition by Altair is a perfect complement to our CFD product offerings and vision,” said Dr. Shakib, ACUSIM’s founder and CEO. “Altair’s strength as a leader in pre- and post-processing CAE solvers and optimization technologies opens new opportunities to apply AcuSolve to a broader class of problems and markets.”
So what’s to become of ACUSIM? As a company, it becomes part of Altair, but the brand, Kidder acknowledged, “is highly regarded among its client base, and quite honestly [it's] a very strong brand in the CFD community. So the brands [AcuSolve and AcuConsole] will remain as part of Altair’s HyperWorks Suite.” AcuSolve and AcuConsole were added to Altair’s HyperWorks lineup in May 2009 through a partnership.
After the acquisition, Dr. Shakib will become VP of CFD development at Altair. Altair plans to reach out to ACUSIM resellers, Kidder revealed. In the announcement, Altair states it will “significantly ramp up technical and customer support for ACUSIM products throughout its global operations.”
Altair plans to deliver ACISUM products on Altair’s HyperWorks simulation platform, a unit-based licensing model that the company felt was innovative enough to take out a patent on. Explaining the model, Altair states, “HyperWorks users can run multiple applications for a flat rate, rather than paying for each license in use. HyperWorks also provides access at no extra cost to other Altair products that can help you better manage your business: PBS GridWorks, a workload management software platform essential in powering grid and on-demand computing environments, and HiQube, business intelligence software that delivers in-depth business analysis capability and superior reporting.”
The acquisition, Kidder explained, “fills a void in our solver portfolio.” The primary reason for the acquisition was “[Altair’s focus on multi-physics simulation,” according to him. He envisioned, “We’re going to heavily integrate [ACUSIM products] into our multi-body dynamics, into our RADIOSS structure solvers, as well as our optimization technology …”