Top 9 CAE Issues from Simulation Industry Summit
Shawn Wasserman posted on January 14, 2015 |

Simulation Industry Executives Discuss top Issues

At the Analysis, Simulation, and Systems Engineering Software Summit (ASSESS), industry executives and experts put aside their corporate loyalties for the betterment of simulation technology as a whole. The 41 representatives met to discuss the biggest issues affecting the world of simulation.

The summit plenary decided that the top 9 issues were:

  1. Design centric workflow
  2. Ease of use and/or usability
  3. Analysis & simulation before CAD
  4. The impact of web, cloud & mobile devices
  5. Capturing and reuse of knowledge
  6. Systems approach to combining heterogeneous models
  7. Speed & model fidelity
  8. Unattractive technical issues
  9. Changes to licensing models

Ansys’ future innovations, announced at the ANSYS Convergence Conference, address many of the top 9 simulation issues.

“It was clear that people highlighted the ability to leverage simulation in the pre-CAD stage,” said Joe Walsh, CEO of intrinSIM and ASSESS co-organizer. “Design concepts are key and equally as important; the ability to create simulation technology that is acceptable to those involved in making design decisions.”

According to ASSESS, the design centric workflow included much of the ease of use which could translate results into terms that designers can comprehend. Walsh added, “It is key these concepts be enabled so one simulation can drive design concepts. Once the decisions are made in a design environment, it can be leveraged as a tool to make more effective decisions.”


Ideas like Siemens’ copy, paste, move and mirror of superelements can go a long way towards the issue of reusing knowledge.

Brad Holtz, President of Cyon Research and ASSESS co-organizer, also commented on the top issues affecting the simulation industry. “[For] analysis and simulation pre-CAD one of the key delineators is that all too often the geometry is set and then an analysis is done. It is the geometry that drives the design rather than the analysis and simulation driving the design.”

Since the power of simulation is to detect issues with designs early in the development cycle, focusing on the geometry instead of simulation is akin to putting the buggy before the horse.

Discovery of New Issues Affecting the Simulation Industry


The cloud based 3DEXPERIENCE’s use of a similar GUI for various software. Dassult Systèmes' solution to address CAE ease of use.

Another goal of the summit was to identify issues affecting the simulation industry that might otherwise go un-noticed without communication between the industry’s top brass and experts.

“One hidden challenge we found wasn’t voted on, as it was discovered as a result of the vote,” said Holtz. “It’s the issue of big research and the inability of companies today to break between the need of long-term investments in research … and the vendor community’s inability to justify making many of those long-term bets.” Unfortunately, the prospect of reduced long-term research could lead to a bottleneck of CAE advancements.

Walsh mentioned another hidden issue: “Venders justifying the effort to keep up with … next generation hardware advances.” Walsh explains that these advancements “have completely different hardware architectures that may open up new opportunities. But there is a struggling challenge to keep up with those on a timely manner.”

For instance, at ASSESS there was a lot of discussion about how the security issues of today’s computer technology are the result of the von Neumann architecture that equates data and code. According to Holtz, a few of the new architectures on the horizon do not treat data and code the same way. As a result, this will affect both security and the industry’s ability to adapt simulation software to these new architectures.


CD-adapco’s IdeaStrom increases the discussion between users and the software vender.

The final hidden issue was “that there needs to be collaboration between end users and software vendors,” said Walsh. “Both need to invest effort to develop ease of use, approaches and integrations of automation to make broader use possible.” Linking back to Holtz’s point Walsh said, “The challenge is that [improving communication] has to be done before there is a clear return of investment, there must be a leap of faith from the industry and venders.”

The Analysis, Simulation, and Systems Engineering Software Summit Format


Siemens addresses ease of use and workflow with a Multiphysics Environment. The environment simplifies bi-directional connections of thermal and structural simulations.

The summit was modeled after 1999’s Summit on the Future of Engineering Software, which led to the creation of COFES (Congress on the Future of Engineering Software). The goal of the summit was to collect the industries’ greatest minds to discuss the issues and topics affecting simulation today.

The summit opened with the collective tabling of 104 issues, categorized into 5 groups:

  • Business issues
  • System dynamics issues
  • Long term issues
  • Technical issues
  • Next-generational user issues

The groups then reduced those issues to a list of 24 for the plenary to vote on.

“There was a general running theme that the simulation and systems engineering market are at an inflection point of need,” said Walsh. “Especially as the complexity of the products and systems we are producing is exploding and physical testing is no longer adequate.”

Since the majority of the plenary were from software vendors, academic and customer groups will also be invited to discuss the top 24 issues. This should ensure that the users’ opinions are taken into consideration when assessing these issues in the future. In the meantime, the topics will be refined within the committees and given clear definitions. A follow-up to the ASSESS event is scheduled to run just before the start of COFES.

The popularity of the summit grew quickly during the planning stages. In fact, the summit was sponsored by many big simulation organizations, including Dassult Systèmes, Siemens, Ansys, CD-adapco and MSC Software.

“We had quite a long [invite] list. We ran into a challenge that we didn’t expect. We had a limited number of slots available,” said Joe Walsh from intrinSIM. “We rapidly ran into the problem that everyone was saying yes and we didn’t get far down the list. Apparently, this was very relevant and a topic everyone wanted to be in on. We had an abundance of support for the summit.”

Ravi Shankar, Global Simulation Product Marketing from Siemens PLM agreed: “Siemens is investing heavily in the advancement of simulation and systems engineering solutions … But, we recognize that there is tremendous opportunities that lie ahead for our industry to do even more as simulation becomes a mission critical activity for product development.”

Shankar added, “For Siemens the summit provided a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse group of industry stakeholders in thoughtful and open discussions on the most important challenges that are facing the industry. The findings of the summit provide a set of priorities for the industry as a whole to develop the next generation of software solutions that will help companies to develop innovative products that the world is demanding. We look forward to continue the discussions and collaborate with others in the industry to address these challenges.”

Source: COFES’ ASSESS Press Conference

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