May 25, 2023
I spent a few days in Georgia this spring at the ASSESS Initiative conference listening to experts, vendors and end users discussing simulation technology from about every angle imaginable. By the time you read this, I will be on my way to the NAFEMS World Congress in Florida for an even larger gathering dedicated to current and future simulation applications. Based on the discussions at ASSESS, there will be a lot to talk about for the next several years.
I left ASSESS pondering several questions about the future of the technology, and I plan to spend the next few months investigating some possible answers.
First, the computer-aided engineering (CAE) market in general is growing (by double digits, according to Cambashi). But where is that growth coming from? A few ASSESS attendees pointed out that a big chunk of that growth may be coming from existing companies expanding their investment in software licenses. Are new companies adopting the technology? What kind of market penetration are these newer, more user-friendly software tools experiencing?
One thing driving simulation software growth has been the democratization of the technology—a key focus of ASSESS. The general idea is to make it easier for non-specialists to use simulation earlier and more frequently in the design process. But where should companies draw the line between simulation that can be performed by anyone, and work that should only be done by experts? In other words, can there be too much democratization?
Somewhat related to that, what will the role of artificial intelligence be in simulation? At the recent OzenCon event held by Ansys reseller Ozen, AI was presented as a potential gateway into advanced simulation. You could use natural language queries, for example, to initiate complex simulations that otherwise would have been set up by expert engineers. That approach would seem to have a lot of potential benefits and downsides, depending on how the technology works and the types of problems you might want to solve.
This simulation-focused issue of Digital Engineering addresses a few of these topics. This month, our writers take a look at how model-based systems engineering (MBSE) can improve the design of complex systems. We also have a feature on how manufacturers are leveraging cloud-based simulation in their design workflows, as well as how simulation is helping to improve additive manufacturing processes. Senior Editor Kenneth Wong also checked in with the folks at ASSESS to grade industry progress on simulation-driven design activities.
I hope you enjoy the issue, and if you happen to be at the NAFEMS conference in Tampa, feel free to share your thoughts on the future of simulation in person.