Why is Ada Lovelace Day so important?
It’s Ada Lovelace Day, and that means appreciating and celebrating women in STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics sectors.
Ada Lovelace was a highly-educated mathematician and writer in the 1800s, deeply interested in sciences and the human brain. She is widely known as the first computer programmer, having written extensive notes about Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine which describe his machine as a computer with additional notes outlining software. An algorithm in the notes outlines the first of its kind tailored for use on a computer, but since Babbage’s machine was never completed, her program could not be tested.
Lovelace was dedicated to the concept of the Analytical Engine, firmly believing in its potential until she died: “The engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent,” she stated as an example.
Sadly, women in STEM continue to be overlooked, and young female students are rarely encouraged to enter the field. Tessa Colledge is an engineering software programmer at Autodesk, and dedicates time to actively open young women’s eyes about STEM, with regular visits to schools and universities. She is realistic about the venture, acknowledging that it will be a slow process, but continues to expose young women to career paths they may not have considered. As well as encouraging women themselves, Colledge strongly advocates the investment of time and money in programmes for recruiting them.
Colledge said: “It’s important to recognise the contribution women bring to engineering on days like Ada Lovelace Day, but we still have a long way to go when it comes to championing female role models. In my work as a STEM ambassador with Autodesk, I see the value in exposing young women to careers once deemed only suitable for boys.
“Having that personal connection with another female like me, gives young women the self-belief that they can discover a career path in STEM. If you have an interest in engineering, I’d urge you to cherish the skills that you want to apply – whether this is maths or problem solving skills. Don’t give up on finding the career where you can use these skills – it’s out there somewhere. Take risks, put yourself out there and explore the unknown.”
Amy Bunszel, VP of Digital Engineering Products at Autodesk, is also passionate about encouraging women to choose STEM as a career path, even speaking this year at Catalyst Conference 2016, which celebrates women in technology. She adds:
“We know that we need more women at the table, on teams and in the boardroom and we must work at both retaining women already in STEM fields and getting more young women interested in STEM. This is why celebrating days like Ada Lovelace Day and promoting the accomplishments of women in STEM is crucial. My advice for women in STEM is to ask for stretch assignments that align well with their technical and leadership skills and to look around their organizations for women they can bring along with them.
“And for those of us who have already made a successful career in STEM, it is important to offer coaching, mentoring, sponsorship and advice. In return for helping others you’ll also build up a strong network of support and your own sounding board. I leverage my connections to benefit others and enjoy connecting people with opportunities. For me, being a role model to women in STEM extends beyond my formal responsibility at Autodesk to participating on panels across the Bay Area, having coffee meetings to offer advice and encouragement and speaking at career fairs and sponsoring programs like Girls Who Code. Keeping the spotlight on this topic is crucial.”
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Hexagon Revolutionises Manufacturing Design Process
A global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions, Hexagon recently announced that complex CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulations can now be completed with the help of the world’s fastest supercomputer, Fugaku. Before this breakthrough, CFD simulations were far too expensive and time-consuming to run. Now, however, engineers can use these high-detail simulations to explore new ideas, iterate their designs, and optimise next-gen aircraft and electric vehicle manufacturing.
Thanks to Hexagon, manufacturers can now analyse what they’re up against before starting their build process—with one-third the energy use of traditional simulations and a fraction of the cost. This is only the latest step in Hexagon’s mission to use design and engineering data to speed up smart manufacturing. As the company wrote: ‘The idea of putting data to work is part of Hexagon’s DNA’.
What Are CFD Simulations?
Simply put, they’re simulations so complex and powerful that engineers usually have to spend hours upon hours simplifying their designs. 90% of an engineer’s time can centre around this task—but not with Fugaku-powered simulations. Now, original designs can be fed into the simulation software, reaching a much closer approximation of reality.
With the ARM-powered Fugaku supercomputer, Hexagon’s Cradle CFD clients can now reduce simulation cost, conserve valuable energy, and integrate high-detail simulations into their daily operations. At a time when the automotive and aerospace industries are racing to bring safe and sustainable transport options to market, in fact, CFD simulations could be the key to success.
How Does CFD Change the Game?
As auto manufacturers transition to electric vehicles, they must understand how design adjustments will affect the vehicle in real-time. Instead of physically iterating their blueprints, they’d rather work it out in theory. With CFD, engineers can now pre-test critical safety, performance, and longevity features—for example, how aerodynamics will interact with energy efficiency, or how thermal management will operate under a range of parameters. Essentially, CFD simulations speed up the design process and cut down on costly mistakes.
Said Roger Assaker, President of Design & Engineering in Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division: ‘Simulation holds the key to innovations in aerospace and eMobility. Advances such as the low-power Fugaku supercomputing architecture are one of the ways we can tap into these insights without costing the Earth, and I am delighted by what our Cradle CFD team and our partners have achieved’.
How Did Testing Unfold?
- Prototyped a typical family car. This is only possible with enhanced computing power. The car model consisted of 70 million elements using 960 cores and was simulated until it reached a steady-state using the RANS equation over 1000 cycles.
- Simulated transonic compressible fluid around an aeroplane. Made up of approximately 230 million elements, the simulation used 4,000 nodes using 192,000 computing cores and relied on 48,000 processes via Message Passing Interface (MPI).
Tomohiro Irie, Hexagon’s Director of R&D for Cradle CFD, commented on the recent progress: ‘I expect that these technical developments will contribute to making the power of Fugaku more accessible for general use, bringing huge freedom and improved insights to engineering teams solving tomorrow’s problems today’.
Overall, Hexagon intends to continue driving product innovation forward, with smart manufacturing that adapts to conditions in real-time, pursues perfect quality, and optimises designs for zero waste. And there’s little doubt about it. With 20,000 employees in 50 countries, coupled with Fugaku’s supercomputing capabilities, Hexagon is uniquely poised to succeed.