We’ve discussed the need to simulate a full system quite a bit in this blog over the years. The need is clear: as products become smarter and more complex, component or sub-system simulation alone isn’t sufficient. As automobiles become computers on wheels, as your mobile phone has more compute power than the desktops of only a few years ago, there are new ways for products to fail. In other words, systems safety and reliability analysis is more critical than ever. Continue reading
The objective of simulation software is to inform design choices and provide validation results that include systems-level qualities, properties, characteristics, functions, behavior and performance insight. The simulation solution needs to go beyond the parts, or engineering disciplines of the design, and accurately describe the interacting effects of these parts as well as an accurate view into the detail of how these parts perform — essentially a virtual system. Continue reading
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about connected devices, and those devices are not just smartphones, tablets and phablets. It is anything that can collect data (sensors), connect to the internet and transmit the data wirelessly (antennas), and make smart decisions on acquired data (embedded software / processors). The biggest “mobility device” happens to be one that is near and dear to Americans — the car. Over the last few years the amount of electronics and connectivity within a car has been rapidly growing making it a primary differentiator for an automobile. Continue reading
Unless you’ve been at the bottom of the ocean for the last week, you’ve likely seen or heard something about the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s maiden voyage (April 15, 1912). Maybe you’ve even seen the 3D re-release of James Cameron’s movie (once was more than enough for me, thanks). I try to stay away from that kind of thing, but I was fascinated by an NPR interview with renown civil engineer and author, Henry Peroski.
Peroski discussed several engineering failures, including the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles, as well as the Titanic. But what was most interesting was his description of the Titanic as a system. (Sound familiar?) In this case, the system went well beyond the way many engineers typically think. Instead of simply looking at components and subsystems and their impact on each other, Peroski includes people as a critical part of the system. Continue reading
As technologies in the aerospace and defense industry become ever more reliant on embedded electronics, system-on-chip (SoC) and individual component designers can no longer operate in isolation. More and more, the entire system and its subsystems need to be studied holistically due to tight interdependencies. An unmanned aircraft system is a prime example. The high density of electronic components demands a keen focus on power and thermal management — particularly as the aim of these systems is to remain aloft for days, and sometimes months, at a time. With this move up the systems hierarchy comes an increasing need for modeling and simulation tools that capture individual physics AND couple these effects together in a holistic simulation framework. Only then can we truly begin to move up the systems hierarchy and deliver product performance that industry demands. For more insight, read Ed Sperling’s article in Low Power Engineering about redefining systems around power.
In conversations with work colleagues, we often discuss and debate the question, “What constitutes a state-of-the-art simulation tool?” Having worked in the simulation world for 25 years, I say that the time for a “state-of-the-art simulation tool” has passed. I now answer anyone who asks me, “It is not a tool that represents the state of the art but, rather, a methodology.”
There are many tools that simulate various things, and many of them are quite good. For example, I am firmly convinced that ANSYS HFSS represents the gold standard of 3-D computational electromagnetic simulation tools. However, this is simply one tool in a bag of tools used by engineers; individual tools by themselves do not represent the state of the art in simulation.
Engineering simulation is more and more widely adopted as a strategic tool for innovation, cost reduction and even addressing important environmental challenges. With an increasing number of companies using advanced simulation involving multiphysics to gain a reliable product-behavior prediction, we can see two major trends emerging: one related to advanced technologies and the future of simulation (robust design optimization) and the other, perhaps more pragmatic and definitely more business oriented, related to optimization of the product development process to amplify engineering. Continue reading