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BENCHMARK January 2021

BENCHMARK January 2021

What next?


BENCHMARK January 2021 - The future of simulation


In the BENCHMARK January 2021 Issue, you will find out about:

  • Setting a Realistic Agenda for Engineering Analysis & Simulation
  • AI, Data-Driven Models & Machine Learning - What Next?
  • Is Your House in Order? Your Engineering Simulation House, that is!
  • Does the Big Getting Bigger Stifle Innovation? I Don’t Think so…
  • What Next? The Community View
  • The Democratization of the Digital Twin
  • Approaching The Singularity
  • What Next for Diversity in Engineering Simulation?
  • NAFEMS World Congress 2021
  • Generative Design Towards a Unifying Perspective
  • Digital Twin Based Condition Monitoring of a Knuckle Boom Crane:An experimental study What Next for Training?
  • Knowing Where COVID-19 is, is Key to Defeating it - A summary of the NAFEMS CFD Community event on COVID Flow
  • What Next from the Software Vendors?
  • Effective and Efficient Simulation


I’m sure as the clock struck a minute past midnight this New Year’s Day, we all declared ourselves glad to see the back of 2020, just before 2021 almost immediately started trying to go one better. At the time of writing, we’re not quite at 2020 levels yet, but the potential is definitely there. If there’s one thing I can now say with certainty after the past nine months or so it’s that nothing is certain. We can have all the grand plans for the world, great schemes to make things better, improve our industry, move society forward, but they can all be quite quickly put on the backburner with just the right combination of public health emergencies, constitutional dramas, and political ineptitude. And yet the world keeps turning.

We’ve all done a lot of thinking over the past few months. And a lot of that thinking will have been about the future, wondering how, in light of the past year’s events, things will look in the future. Of course, we do this at the start of any new year, no matter the events of the one just gone by. That calendar change is always a prompt to reflect on the past and plan for the future. Always a great time to ask -what next?

We at NAFEMS have been thinking about that for a while now. Our Analysis Agenda, which I’m sure you’re tired of us all banging on about, is NAFEMS’ attempt to bring emerging technologies and important simulation topics together in one ‘manifesto’. It’s asking the question – where does the industry go from here? And what areas should we be looking at? There’s no one answer it seems – and there’s a wide variety of opinion throughout the simulation world, but there is actually more consensus than we may have thought. It’s like deciding which takeaway you and your family are going to order on a Friday night. Yes, one person wants sushi, and another wants Thai, but at the end of the day, everyone will be happy with pizza. Or at least they’ll pretend they’re happy – either way, everyone’s a winner.

So, this issue of Benchmark is given over to exactly that question – what next? What next for simulation? What next for training? What next for software? And given that we’re well aware we don’t have all the answers, we’ve invited a veritable smorgasbord of opinion from across industry and around the globe. And they’re all looking at the same question – what next?

Of course, one of the answers to that question is easy – WORLD CONGRESS! WORLD CONGRESS! Yes, we’re ploughing ahead and looking forward to NWC21, which we’re holding as a hybrid event based out of Salzburg, Austria, in October this year. You can take part by either attending the physical event, or online where we’ll have options for presenters, exhibitors and delegates to take part in a new and exciting congress experience. The important part is that you remember to submit your abstract before the deadline (April 16th) at

Hopefully, you’ll find this issue both informative and thought-provoking. If you agree with everything here, then you probably need to have a word with yourself. If you disagree, or want to contribute your own thoughts, email me at, and we’ll publish a selection of your responses in our next edition.

David Quinn - Editor

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Benchmark January 2021


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