I'm writing this at Schipol Airport, a place where I spend much too much time. The last couple of weeks, as the title implies, have been taken up largely by events; Develop3D live and another of our intro workshops with Simuleon in Holland. Both in their different ways were great.
Surprisingly, given the slightly different scales; 1500 at one, 10 at the other, the subject of where we are on the technology adoption curve came up at both. As a world weary engineer nearing an astonishing 50 years old, (51 weeks to go on that one) I often fall into the trap of thinking that we've gone as far as we are going along the "getting simulation into the mainstream design process" as we'll get. But people with a profile far higher than mine in the world of CAE seem to hold a contrary view, and there may be something in that. Perhaps these really are early days, and FEA and CFD are about to see significant growth in application and usage; if we are, the question is in what form and how.
The "crowd" at my Develop3D talk was somewhat depleted by the alternative attractions playing at the same time, and there, maybe, is a point to consider. Given an alternative the designer may well not spend his time in the unfamiliar world of simulation; but when needs must and the devil is driving the development process, simulation may have to be more widely adopted. To borrow a phrase from Martyn Day simulation may well be the 5 a day of the design process; not an undiluted pleasure to most, but essential for anyone planning a long term future. And after a long period of sparse interest, there finally appear to be a new generation of young engineers who want to get into simulation as a career. It would be great if my more cynical moments were shown to be overly gloomy.
Again my talk from D3D Live will be available online; I'll post the link as soon as I've got it. Signing up for a free intro course is as easy as it ever was.