BOSTON, MA, May 25, 2011 (NAFEMS World Congress) – You have to have mad analysis skill to get your paper accepted at NWC, the annual gathering of uber-analysts from all over the world. Organized by UK's NAFEMS, it takes place along Boston’s waterfront, last year it was in Greece. It alternates between US and Europe.
A look at the program guide confirms the esotoric and exclusive nature of FEA work. Papers bear titles that include contact stress accuracy, eigenvalues, nonlinear anisotropic, fluid/structure interaction…I don’t expect to see CAD users roaming the isles.
What the heck is Autodesk doing here? Oops, I said that out loud. Who happens to hear me but Bob Williams, member of the Autodesk's newly formed SIM Squad. I expect to hear how the SIM Squad will be leading CAD by the hand into the lofty realm of analysis. I expect to hear "democratization" a lot.
But I am wrong.
“Autodesk is an analysis company,” he says. “We’ve acquired half a billion dollars* worth of simulation technology.”
Autodesk is even presenting 2 papers at the conference.
Autodesk at first seemed to have formed a small army. The SIM Squad has 61 members total, 7 of which 11 are at the conference. However, only Bob and one other Sim Squad member do this full time (the others have “day jobs” at Autodesk). There is a big job ahead.
Bob tells me the SIM Squad was organized not just for the users (which you might think after visiting the website) but just as importantly, to educate the sales channel… and Autodeskers themselves.
Tell me about it! Bob doesn’t realize that is my pet peeve. I’ve sat through too many demos as CAD vendors (not just Autodesk) push the limits of responsibility in their push to put analysis tools in the hands of designers. I’ve seen obvious modes of failure ignored, incorrectly applied or unexplained failure theories...Oh, don’t get me started.
The SIM Squad would achieve a large measure of success in just toning down the “anybody can use it” rhetoric and teach respect for the careful and well done analysis. That would go a long way in convincing the analysis world that, yes, it has arrived. Respect is earned, especially in the analysis crowd.
This is going to take more than T-shirts.
- Official SIM Squad Site at www.autodesk.com/simsquad
- Interview of SIM Squad's Bob Williams by Autodesk's Rob Cohee on YouTube
* Most of that was for Algor, Moldflow and Blue Ridge Numerics, the rest was split up between Plassotech, Solid Dynamics and some other investments.