From Supercomputers to Handhelds

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics conference on Computational Science and Engineering (CSE13). There I listened to a number of presentations given by mathematicians and engineers, who talked about running software programs on some of the biggest supercomputers in the world. When ANSYS was first founded in 1970, finite element analysis (FEA) simulations were typically performed on large “mainframes” that filled entire rooms — these were the supercomputers of that era.

More recently, the distributed solver in the ANSYS Mechanical product family was developed to allow engineers to run FEA simulations on large clusters, which is the hardware of choice for today’s supercomputers. In fact, in 2008 several mechanical simulations were performed on one of the TOP100 supercomputers in the world using the distributed ANSYS capability with calculations reaching over 1 Teraflop (over 1 trillion calculations per second). However, the point I want to raise today is that while ANSYS Mechanical software supports such speed and complexity required for the most numerically challenging and hardware-resource-intensive simulations, the power of a supercomputer is now available in the palm of your hand. Continue reading