benchmark January 2012
Analysis in your Pocket - Simulation on a smartphone
I’ll spare you the “new year” editorial about the passage of time and looking forward to the coming 12 months. I’ll even let you get away without mentioning the Christmas break we’ve all just come back from. Might skip a discussion on winter weather, and I’m definitely not going to write about new year’s resolutions.
Right. Now that’s out of the way, we can concentrate.
This issue of benchmark includes an article on using a smartphone to run simulation software. Yes, you heard me. Running analysis on your Android-powered device is becoming a reality. Whilst this will obviously never (never say never....) replace supercomputing, it’s a development that I’m sure many of us would never have seen coming a few years ago. Yet, it’s a mark of just how Moore’s Law continues to change the world we live in. What next? NASA mission control being run from someone’s kitchen on an iPhone? NNSA being run out of a garage using an array of tablets, netbooks and iPads? The mind boggles. Whilst we’re not exactly at that stage (yet!), it’s certainly a real-world eye-opener into how quickly technology is developing and how nothing in the world of high-performance computing stay’s the same for very long.
In November last year, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to a number of keynote speakers at the Siemens NX CAE Symposium in North Carolina. One of those interviews is included in this issue, and my discussion with Nathan Christensen from ATK Launch System certainly raised a number of interesting points and gave me an insight into the simulation processes at a high-technology company such as ATK. With simulation data management being a topic of much discussion within NAFEMS over the past few years, it was interesting to note that companies as advanced as ATK have the same problems and issues with this as everyone else. The role of NAFEMS in bringing the simulation community together, across industries, to look at how best to manage simulation data, has in my view never been more important. We can all learn from each other, no matter what industry or specialty we focus on, and sometimes looking “outside” our own industries and departments can be the most effective way of finding a solution to long-standing or seemingly impossible problems.
And so, to NAFEMS. It’s a busy time at the moment as we prepare for our 2012 regional conference programme. We hope that you’ll be able to participate in some of our events this year, as we gear up to give you a number of conferences and events covering topics which are of interest to you and your colleagues. We can’t emphasise enough that NAFEMS is YOUR organisation – if you think we need to be looking at certain topics more closely, tell us. If you want us to produce more publications on a certain technical area, tell us. If you think we’re doing something right, tell us! Our technical working groups and regional steering groups are busier than ever, which in turn leads to more benefit for our members and the wider analysis community. So the message is the same as ever – get involved.
Let’s make 2012 the year you become more active in your community (I KNEW i couldn’t make it to the end without saying something like that!).