The Power of Physics-Based Software for Engineering and Scientific Research
- 1.0 A New Product Development Paradigm
- 1.1 Computational Engineering and Virtual Prototypes
- 1.2 Computational Science and Digital Surrogates
- 1.3 The Computational Engineering and Science Ecosystem
- 1.4 High-Performance Computers: The Enablers
- 1.5 Full-Featured Virtual Prototypes
- 1.6 The Advantages of Virtual Prototyping for Systems of Systems
- 1.7 Virtual Prototyping: A Successful Product Development and Scientific Research Paradigm
- 1.8 Historical Perspective
Nearly all mature organizations reach a time when the ways in which they have been developing products or conducting scientific research are no longer competitive. The organizations that survive (and thrive) find new and better ways to operate. In this chapter, we describe the paradigm of virtual prototyping that provides a better way to develop products and conduct research.
1.0 A New Product Development Paradigm
Since the end of World War II in 1945, computing power has increased exponentially, from about 1 floating point operation per second (FLOPS) to more than 1017 FLOPS (Strohmaier 2015). The capability to store, access, distribute, and share data has increased concomitantly. These technologies are enabling engineers and scientists to use computers to make revolutionary advances in engineering and science.
One consequence of this explosive growth in computing power is that the experiment-based “design, build, test, iterate” model (Post 2014), with roots in the 19th century Industrial Revolution, is no longer competitive in the modern world for the design and manufacture of many complex products. Engineers are using virtual prototypes of complex products to dramatically reduce the risk, time, and cost of developing them, while also improving their performance and quality. Examples range from the design of golf clubs and automobile tires, to the analysis of automobiles crashes, design and performance predictions for naval vessels, commercial and military aircraft, and rocket engines. The prototypes are also often referred to as “digital models” or “digital surrogates” (Forrester 2008 and Saddik 2018). These different terms are often used as synonyms. However, there might be many different virtual prototypes, but only a few digital surrogates might exist, based on the final designs and software capabilities.
Scientists are using digital surrogates to conduct new and ground-breaking fundamental scientific research that is not possible with traditional methods that are based only on physical experiments. In the scientific research arena, the use of virtual surrogates plays a key role in understanding supernova explosions, predicting the weather, and designing new materials (Council 2010 and Dongarra et al. 2003).