Agile Engineering: Software Development Tools for Simulation Management in the Aerospace Industry

This presentation was made at NAFEMS Americas 2018 Seminar, "Aerospace Simulation Engineering - Navigating the Digital Thread".

Aerospace manufacturers and suppliers are facing an increasingly challenging and competitive marketplace as their products are becoming more complex via tighter integration of systems and cyber-physical environments. That being said, there are rising interests to incorporate Digital Threads as communication frameworks for sharing product lifecycle information seamlessly and Digital Twin methodologies for assessing virtually the expected and future operational physics-based capabilities of a product throughout its lifecycle. Utilizing these techniques in conjunction with the latest engineering simulation tools effectively, accurately and efficiently to meet business goals has never been more critical, as aerospace engineering continues to move into a highly-advanced technological space.


An overview will be given of a python library called simrev, used for Simulation Revision and management. Simrev enables the hierarchy of an engineered system to be mirrored to a python program; mapping parts, subassemblies, and assemblies; to classes, modules, and submodules. Simrev facilitates geometry specification, meshing (with Cubit/Trelis), analysis keyword specification, material properties, boundary conditions, and interface definitions, analysis batch job submission, and results postprocessing.

We will discuss benefits to collaboration and lessons learned from putting such a program under version control (using git), tracking and organizing team members’ contributions on Atlassian BitBucket (similar to github) and organizing agile development for analysis tasks and design objectives with Atlassian Jira.

Building the “digital-twin” is a process of continuous refinement to engineering models; the result of hundreds or thousands of validated analyses using CFD, FEA, and other engineering or physics codes. The simrev processor is a patent pending method that connects high performance computing simulation results (potential order of TB data) to the state of a code repository (usually order MB) in a way that is secure and traceable 1-1 throughout the product lifecycle.

Simrev captures the capital investment going into simulation with a “software-twin.” By applying a wide range of existing enterprise management tools for software development, the software-twin can move freely, efficiently, and automatically through the enterprise instead of remaining trapped in design silos like individual analysis results. Enterprise management tools provide a meeting space for domain experts and management, keeping them “on the same page” as the design is matured, design objectives are achieved, and risk is retired. Effective collaboration is the key to shortening time to market and meeting customer requirements with simulation, especially for systems with tight coupling between a diverse set of physics domains, e.g. aerospace, defense, and electronics.

Simrev has been in use at LLNL for the past several years. It has been used to perform coupled simulations with the implicit thermo-structural code Diablo (with heat flux and pressure applied from CFD analyses for multiple load cases), the implicit FEM code NIKE3D, the explicit FEM code Paradyn, and the implicit/explicit Multiphysics Arbitrary Eulerian-Lagrangian code ALE3D (with domain mesh coupling). (ALE3D is becoming commercially available as a product called ALE3D for Industry, or ALE3D4I).

Simrev is currently configured for use on LLNL HPC systems. However, this talk will propose future workflows involving other concepts from software including; “continuous deployment,” cloud-based HPC analysis spawned by push updates; augmenting project manpower with programmers who are not engineering experts; automated system requirement checks through “unit tests” of subassemblies; Multiphysics “integration tests” of full systems with massively parallel HPC; and automated reporting of physical requirements, e.g. exceeding stress, temperature, or noise constraints, for automated reporting of risk burn-down to decision makers.

Simrev as a code library, and associated IP, is available for license.

Document Details

AuthorElmer. W
Date 18th October 2018
OrganisationLawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Back to Search Results