COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (CIC/NAFEMS 2104) - Rescale, a San Francisco startup, was on hand to demonstrate the power of the cloud to the assembled engineers and analysts at the first ever joint CIC/NAFEMS conference. Founded by ex-staffers of Boeing, one a structural engineer and the other computer scientist, Rescale has stocked the cloud with a multitude of applications --over 50 to date, including ANSYS, MSC Nastran and CD-adapco's STAR-CCM+,
Why would you want to use your favorite CAE application on the cloud, when you could just run it on your trusty workstation? I ask Ilea Graedel, who in her bizdev role at Rescale is paid to tolerate editors who show up at her booth without doing their homework. She is ready:
- You may not be near your computer
- You may need more horsepower than your computer can supply.
Free to Move About the Country
Rescale will let you run its applications from a web browser. You can be down the hall, in a meeting, on a flight...as long as you have a connection. You are now free to move about the country. Also, you don't have to blow the budget on over-the-top high performance computing (HPC) clusters. Rescale buys HPC chunks so you can use them as needed. With Rescale, a lone consultant can access computing power that was previously available to large organizations.
Rescale not only provides solvers, but also stores results data and employs data management tools to help sort through it.
Analyst in Your iPad
Rescale can also be set up to solve frequently encountered problems, use its CAE tools to solve them, and present the answers. All of this, once again, can be run off the browser. Think of this as an analyst in an iPad.
The ideal Rescale scenario may go something like this:
- Old way: have had your salespeople gather requirements from a customer, submit them to your analysts, who would have crunched the numbers, and --day later-- given you or your design engineer results
- Rescale way: Salesman punches in the parameters on his mobile device, Rescale employs the CAE software on near supercomputers, and beams the answer in a few minutes.
Custom applications are created in Python code, and Rescale will provide some assistance.
Rescale, the name, has nothing to do with what the company does. It was chosen from among a list of available domains. It makes no sense, ut neither does Amazon or Google.
Rescale charges $0.15 per hour per core, says Ilea. I have no idea what that mean in terms of 'typical' analysis. Ilea runs a small analysis on the spot, a parameteterized CFD problem that uses two cores. "That would have cost $1.50," she says.
This is stunning! I believe we have just accessed a CFD code, which you normally can't touch without parting with tens of thousands of dollars. We just used it for a couple of bucks. It feels like stealing.
Ilea has to bring me down to earth. The analysis we have run used OpenFoam, which is open source software, so no license fees were involved. Use of commercial code would pay more. There may be no such thing as a 'typical' analysis. "Customers spend anywhere from tens of dollars to thousands per job," says Ilea.
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