Recently, Stephen Ferguson explained why breaking the world record for scaling STAR-CCM+ on thousands of cores (twice!) is relevant to you. After channeling his inner Oscar Wilde and boasting a bit, he made the important point that, if you are lucky enough to have access to thousands of cores, you can afford to solve real-world problems spanning many disciplines quickly, because STAR-CCM+ rocks at scalability and our Power Session licensing model won’t charge you extra for using all your resources at once. One flat rate for running a simulation on unlimited cores, imagine that!
Picture above : The Cray XC 40 Hazel Hen at HLRS
But we didn’t stop there…Our mission as a company is to help you discover better designs faster (and stay ahead of the competition!). What this means is that we provide you with the right tools to intelligently drive your designs and help you make sound real-world engineering decisions but equally important, we make sure that Multidisciplinary Design eXploration (MDX) is affordable for your organization by offering MDX-friendly licensing models.
Before going into the age-old licensing barriers that have prevented simulation-driven design exploration, I want to put myself in your shoes for a minute. If you are reading this blog, you have probably heard us talk about HEEDS MDO, Optimate and Optimate+. When I first joined CD-adapco a few years ago, it wasn’t immediately clear to me why we needed to have all these tools and how each of them (as well as innovative licensing) makes up an important piece of our complete solution strategy for MDX . You are probably wondering : “Which tool is right for me?”, “How is using it going to help me impress my boss?”, and ” Can I afford to run it?”
HEEDS MDO is ideal for companies who already have an established workflow for product design, with a portfolio of analysis tools ranging from commercial to open source or proprietary in-house. These tools are likely used by different teams across the enterprise and design iterations are often tackled through isolated tasks within each team, executed one after another. I was part of such an inefficient process for many years and have had this graphic (based on “Dream Airplanes” by C.W. Miller) on display in my office ever since I started my career. This picture really is worth a thousand words:
So HEEDS MDO helps you tackle these headaches and figure out the compromise in design in an automated way. It enables you to seamlessly link your set of preferred tools (across disciplines) together and then uses a smart search algorithm called SHERPA to intelligently and efficiently search the complex space (watch this!).
But let’s take a step back from this scenario. STAR-CCM+ may be the only simulation tool you want to use for your product design. You are already familiar with the user interface, you are impressed with the repeatable CAD-to-solution process and it has all the required physics for tackling your product design. You have been manually doing some design studies and you really wish you could automate this process without having to write scripts or learn a new tool. This is where both Optimate and Optimate+ (add-ons to STAR-CCM+) will give you a huge boost. Optimate allows a designer to easily setup and execute design exploration studies such as parameter sweeps right from your familiar STAR-CCM+ environment. Optimate+ takes it one step further by adding the capability to perform automated design optimization studies, using the same SHERPA algorithm available in HEEDS MDO. Using Optimate and Optimate+, you can really unleash the full power of STAR-CCM+.
Picture above : Underhood pipe flow design study with Optimate to maximize uniformity of outlet velocity and minimize outlet swirl.
But MDX requires more than just robust simulation technologies. Not to be overlooked is the need for a licensing model that makes it affordable. Scalability of individual simulations is of course still important in this scenario (and yes, we rock!) but MDX may require the evaluation of 100s of design variations at once and this often comes with a prohibitive price tag.
CD-adapco has a unique licensing model for design exploration that offers ultimate flexibility : Power Tokens. Basically, the way it works is, you buy a bucket of tokens, and each of them may be used to launch concurrent configurations within your design exploration campaign. For example, with 100 Power Tokens, you could run one design point on 100 CPUs, 10 concurrent design points on 10 CPUS each, or even 100 concurrent design points on one CPU each. This really offers you total flexibility and allows you to deploy all your available resources to maximize throughput when exploring design derivatives, no matter how small or large your model is.
There is still one more exciting licensing option we haven’t covered in this series of blogs and that is Power-on-Demand. It means exactly what the name suggests : it’s a pay-as-you-go approach that allows users to deploy resources as and when needed. Stephen Ferguson will be covering this in his next blog!
So go ahead! I challenge you to take your designs to the next level with MDX!