How ‘democratization’ relates to modeling and simulation

AltaSim Technologies
Monday, June 20, 2016 - 1:30pm (updated Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - 10:05am)

The word “democratization” was often heard in the corridors and meeting rooms at the recent 2016 NAFEMS (National Agency for Finite Element Methods and Standards) meeting in Seattle, but what is its relevance to the world of modeling and simulation? Although traditionally used to convey passage from an authoritarian to democratic regime, here it was being used to describe the burgeoning movement attempting to bridge the digital divide between Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) experts and traditional product and technology developers such that modeling and simulation technology becomes more accessible to more people.

After the last round of market crashes, forward-thinking companies have an increased awareness of the importance of modeling and simulation to provide:

  1. Increased success of new technology
  2. Increased rate of development of innovative products
  3. Reduced development cost

As you might expect there were several interpretations of how to accomplish these objectives and thus the spectrum of discussion on democratization of CAE ranged from: integration of simulation methodologies with data management and workflow tools with distributed access for multiple individuals; to integration of smart decision-making algorithms into existing general purpose computational analysis to facilitate use by people with no expertise in CAE; and to easily accessible simulation applications that are focused on specific technologies.

So although several approaches are emerging, a clear path has not yet been identified. In practice, each of these interpretations has a place in the future world of democratized modeling and simulation that depends on corporate culture, acceptance of change and the problem facing an individual. The future of computational simulation applications in whatever guise they emerge promises to make exploration of design space affordable and thus have a significant role in guiding the development of those forward-thinking companies that accept the fact change is inevitable and simultaneously embrace a culture of innovation.

So what is AweSim’s role in the democratization of CAE movement? Perhaps we can think of it as providing the tools and infrastructure for empowering those currently outside the inner sanctum of CAE to access and use affordable CAE based products and services. By facilitating the expansion of access to specialized knowledge and tools, as well as changing the way that people view, demand and use this access, AweSim can be part of enabling:

  • Diffusion of decision making
  • Spread of knowledge
  • Exploration of technology

While the future path for democratizing CAE is currently undefined, recent events would suggest that AweSim can be part of defining the future. In fact, the AweSim program has already been a big part of some major successes for a wide range of industries, from advanced manufacturing to aerospace and aviation to automotive, just to name a few. Be sure to check out our solutions page for case studies and a better understanding of how industry is using modeling and simulation with high performance computing.