Happy Friday, folks. Before we jump into this week’s round up of interesting engineering technology news articles, we’d like to take a minute to extend our thoughts and well wishes to those who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy on the east coast.
With that said, learn about some new research that’s testing building materials to withstand hurricane force winds, read about Titan, the basketball court-sized supercomputer in Tennessee and when we can expect to see driverless cars on the road next to us.
- Can a Wall of Wind Defeat a Hurricane?
- Meet the Fastest, Most Powerful Science Machine in the World: Titan Supercomputer
- A Future With Driverless Vehicles Requires Sensory Adjustments
- UAVs and Commercial Aircraft Can Fly Cooperatively and Safely
- Pittsburgh Technology Council Tech 50 2012
Hurricane Sandy, as we know, gave the east coast a run for its money this past week. While some places are slowly getting back to normalcy, some areas of New Jersey are still trying to get back on their feet.
A research team from Florida International University has built a “wall of wind” to help simulate — and hopefully prevent — a hurricane’s destruction. The simulator will test designs and materials to ensure buildings can withstand hurricanes.
The University says the $8 million project is the nation’s most powerful hurricane simulator, capable of replicating a Category 5 storm conditions. The “Wall of Wind” has 700 horse power, two layers of 12 fans (each 6 feet tall) and can create winds reaching approximately 157 mph — ultimately producing a wall of wind 15 feet high and 20 feet wide.
Recently, the simulator tested two mock structures about the size of a shed: one with pre-Hurricane Andrew construction codes and the second built with stricter standards including heavy duty nails and heavier roofing felt. Interestingly, pre-Andrew designs performed almost as well as the new ones intended to withstand more than twice the winds, at 130 mph. And, at Category 2 strength, or 109 mph, the supposedly stronger shingles began to tear off.
Looks like some engineers need to step up their game!
You could say that we know a thing or two about high-performance computing (HPC) here at ANSYS. But this computer, it’s pretty amazing.
Titan (the world’s fastest, most powerful scientific machine supercomputer) sits in a Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory in Tennessee. The size of a basketball court, it has seemingly incomprehensible compute power: it would be like if each of the world’s 7 billion people were to solve 3 million math problems per second. To better help you wrap your mind around just how fast Titan is, it would take 60,000 years for 1,000 people working at a rate of one calculation per second to complete the number of calculations that Titan can process in a single second.
That supercomputer also has a super price tag: $100 million (plus $9 million a year in electric bills — yet it’s also considered pretty energy efficient).
According to BBC, “Anyone spending more than 15 minutes in the same room with the Titan supercomputer must wear earplugs or risk permanent hearing damage.”
And what’s the purpose? To save the world, of course. No, seriously. The DOE wants to kill all known diseases, solve the world’s energy problems and understand the functioning of living cells — all of which need fast, brute-force computing power.
A Future With Driverless Vehicles Requires Sensory Adjustments
Despite all of the buzz going on around self-driving cars, according to Sandeep Sovani, director of automotive strategy at ANSYS, we’re still a very long way from seeing self-driving cars on the road beside us.
That’s mostly because the underlying engineering technology (radar, cameras and GPS to name a few) required to make a car “see” is pretty complex — and they all need to work together. How do you make sure this happens, you ask? Simulation!
Simulating a self-driving car is more than simulating radar and on-board devices. It’s about simulating the entire car as an interconnected system. To make sure that the car performs properly, you have to simulate the whole system, not just its individual components.
Think about it — a car with no driver will still have to make split-second decisions like when to swerve and miss a skunk on the road and will still need to know when to merge or get out of the way of another car. Don’t we want to be sure that when we get behind the wheel
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been on the global military scene for about a decade. But for the most part, until now, their missions have been completed well outside civilian airspace. Why? Just in case their flight path happens to cross with a commercial flight.
However, recent tests confirmed that drones can safely fly within the same airspace as airliners.
While this isn’t explicitly related to simulation, the aerospace and defense industry is among the early adopters of engineering simulation technology. Advances in this industry can most likely in some way, shape or form be traced back to a successful model or simulation!
Pittsburgh Technology Council
Pittsburgh Technology Council Tech 50 2012
So, we realize that this week has featured two ANSYS pieces, but what the heck?
At a ceremony on Thursday evening, ANSYS was presented with the Tech Titan Award from the Pittsburgh Technology Council. We were honored to receive this award and thank the Pittsburgh Technology Council for a great evening. In each category, nominees were chosen on the basis of growth and advancement in product or sales success, financial strength, corporate citizenship, job growth and retention and innovative product or technology.
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