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I was a complete LEGO® fanboy as a child. My room was full of huge (comparatively) tubs of the stuff from the ages of around 5-14, and I couldn't even begin to guess how many hours I spent building cities, cars, 'planes and spaceships. Happy evenings and weekends with my younger brother (hi, Stephen) creating worlds before he would decide he'd had enough and start destroying them. At least he didn't bury the LEGO® in the back garden like he did with my original 1980s Star Wars figures (as far as I know).
So I was delighted to see one of the NAFEMS World Congress 2023 awards go to a presentation all about the lovely bricky stuff. There's something about bringing children's toys into engineering that acts as a great leveller. It serves as a reminder that engineering, and by extension, modelling & simulation, is everywhere. Plus, who doesn't love playing some games while they're working? Building blocks are an excellent metaphor for what we do here at NAFEMS—taking disparate parts of the analysis and simulation community, mooshing them together (if 'mooshing' gets past our copy editor), and building something worthwhile, complex, and much stronger than the sum of its parts.
The best evidence of this was in Florida this May at the long-awaited NAFEMS World Congress. We were thrilled by the response from our community, coming together for the first in-person Congress since 2019 and entering into the spirit of things. Our CEO, Tim Morris, summed up the 'best foot forward' nature of the event in his opening address, encouraging attendees to "act lively" during the Congress. These events only really come into their own when everyone decides to participate actively instead of just spending a few days listening to presentations. It felt like everyone noted this encouragement from the outset – the workshops were full of questions, the exhibition area chatter felt louder than usual, and people seemed much more open to sharing the experience with fellow attendees rather than just being passive. Thank you as ever to every attendee, presenter, exhibitor, and sponsor. You are the bricks that make the NWC, and every one as important as the other.
This issue of benchmark looks back at the best of NWC23, giving you an insight into some of the best papers and presentations, as well as the key technical takeaways from our perspective. The beauty of events like this is that everyone takes something different away – if you have different thoughts for us or even something to add, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll publish it in the next issue. As well as content from NWC, we look at the results of NAFEMS' recent collaboration with McKinsey & Company, an excellent piece on ADAS, and our regular catch-up with Monica Schnitger on the simulation business.
There's no rest for us here at NAFEMS conference-wise. We have a robust programme of events closing the year and more as we enter into 2024. Our conference duo on Multiphysics and MBD are taking place this November in Munich, with the ASSESS 2024 Summit and our regional conference series already taking shape for the early part of the year. We hope to see you at one, or more, of our conferences soon. Enjoy this issue of benchmark.
David Quinn - Editor
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