Mountain climbers know Piz Daint, measuring 9,700 feet, as part of Switzerland’s snow-dusted Ortler Alps. Researchers and supercomputer nerds, however, know another Piz Daint, installed inside the Swiss National Supercomputing Center (abbreviated as CSCS in Swiss). The center is a unit of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, where Albert Einstein once studied. Since supercomputers are used for, among other things, accurate weather prediction, the micro-climates of the Piz Daint in the Alps could very well be computed on the Piz Daint at the CSCS.
The supercomputer is a Cray XC30 system. Its current performance is listed as 216 TFlops, according to Top 500 Supercomputers. It’s the largest supercomputing giant Cray has assembled and delivered to date. But it’s about to get faster. When it’s retrofitted with Kepler GPUs, its speed will go up to 1 PFlops (1,000 trillion floating point operations per sec), announced NVIDIA. By early 2004, the Piz Daint will become “the fastest GPU accelerator-based scientific supercomputer in Europe,” NVIDIA noted.
More than a decade ago, when stress analysis modules started showing up in mechanical design packages, users squirmed: Can we trust the software to accurately predict how steel and plastic shapes would deform under a certain weight or pressure? The inputs required are too complex. Where do I get these values? How do I make sense of the color-coded results? What does the Von Mises numbers say about my design?
But over time, the user interface for CAD-embedded linear stress analysis tools became simpler. Now, they have become so standardized that if you know how to perform stress analysis in SolidWorks, you can, with minimum training, perform the same task in Autodesk Inventor, Siemens PLM Software’s Solid Edge, or PTC Creo on first contact. Continue reading
By Sunday morning, I’ll be on a plane, bound for SolidWorks World (Jan 20-23, Swan and Dolphin, Orlando, Florida). If I seem a bit dazed and confused when you spot me in the hotel lobby, it’s probably because I’ve come straight from an all-night costumed ball in San Francisco without sufficient sleep. But I’ll be my usual self once I get some caffeine and newsworthy tidbits to perk me up. What, in your view, is the anticipated revelation this year? Continue reading
Quite often, in the middle of a press briefing on a new CAD software release, I’d hear a musical number from Annie Get Your Gun:
Anything you can do, I can do better;
I can do anything better than you.
No, I’m not hallucinating. Irving Berlin’s words seem to echo the song-and-dance routine at these press events: Autodesk Inventor gives you real-time ray-tracing? So does our product. Solid Edge gives you push-pull editing? Our software does too, and it does it better. And so on.
Last week, when I flew to Waltham, Massachusetts, for a preview of SolidWorks 2013, I, for a change, couldn’t hear the familiar musical number. And it wasn’t because it was drowned out by the cracking of lobster claws during dinner. It was because I genuinely felt that a number of new features debuting in SW2013 sets it apart from its competitors. Continue reading
As it gets ready for another robust release, SolidWorks is also turning its attention to the two areas that, up to recently, have been served by partner products: electrical and plastic design.
The two new add-ons, SolidWorks Electrical and SolidWorks Plastics, are not part of the core SolidWorks design software. They mark the company’s introduction of two new products, designed to address the incorporation of electrical components and injection-molded plastic parts in product design. Continue reading