CHPC National Meeting: Encouraging Simulation and HPC Adoption in SMEs

 Altair South Africa is a Platinum Sponsor of the CHPC National Meeting. This was the second year of our three-year sponsorship and we asked Ernst to provide us some highlights from the meeting.

The Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC), hosts an annual meeting where participants from industry and academia come together to discuss how the application of HPC may be advanced in Southern Africa and how it may be used to drive innovation in industry, scientific exploration and academic research. At the conference last year, Altair was once again a Platinum Sponsor, focusing on the theme of encouraging modelling, simulation and adoption of HPC in small and medium sized enterprises (SME). Two central challenges in this endeavor were crystalized during discussions:

  1. Demonstrating the value of simulation and design exploration via HPC to SMEs
  2. Creating business models that support adoption of simulation and HPC technology in SMEs

SME development pacts between OEMs and solution vendors

Speakers, Merle Giles from NCSA, University of Illinois and Cynthia McIntyre from Washington Technology Partners, sparked lively discussion on how software solution vendors and OEMs can join forces to drive simulation adoption in SMEs. Both speakers presented initiatives that have been introduced in the U.S. where the key is the forming of SME development pacts between OEMs and solution vendors.

In this model, software vendors advised OEMs how their supply chains could improve responsiveness to unusual requests, critical time scales and design challenges by adopting simulation and design exploration in HPC. Having established that a need for simulation exists in their SME supply chains, OEMs can then host demonstrations and training workshops in collaboration with software vendors to introduce the benefits of simulation to OEMs.

These development pacts between OEMs, software vendors and HPC resource providers proved very successful and SMEs generally latched on to the value of simulation, modelling and design exploration very quickly! The value to both the OEMs and software vendors are obvious in that business developers still take care of large, important customers while driving green fields business development at the same time!

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Business models for novice modelers in SME

Convincing SMEs that simulation and modelling are potential game-changers for their businesses is half the battle won. The other half of the battle is to find a business model that supports adoption of the technology.

Support engineers need to build trust with the SME’s personnel in simulation tools per se. Once trust in the tools has been established and SME personnel appreciate how to deploy simulation software into their usual tool chains, the SME personnel will start to take ownership of the simulation process but still need high quality technical support.

Finally, the SME needs financially viable access to modeling and simulation tools. It is in this stage where cloud-based HPC and software solutions come to the fore. Solutions like Altair’s HyperWorks Unlimited – Virtual (HWUL-V) appliance make it possible for SMEs to procure both software and suitable HPC resources in periods as short as a month and with very little lead-time. Unlimited access to Altair’s simulation tools and flexible hardware configurations instantiated on leading cloud-based HPC services like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and similar make for a highly flexible, affordable and convenient simulation service.

Innovation intelligence delivered

The CHPC National Meeting provided a platform to discuss how traditional OEMs and simulation software vendors can partner to achieve efficiency and agility of design processes in the supply chains of OEMs, while creating new markets for the software vendors. This philosophy may well help develop a design and production compact where simulation is ubiquitous and crucial to the success of any SME. Future CHPC National Meetings are sure to draw SMEs into this discussion when they start to appreciate how HPC and simulation tools hold the keys to their future business success.

Ernst Burger
Ernst Burger

About Ernst Burger

Ernst joined Altair in 2014, and is currently the Senior Business Development Manager in Altair South Africa. He is responsible for the market development of Altair software in South Africa and assisting market developers in other regions with specialized knowledge of electromagnetics modeling tools in the HyperWorks suite of software. He graduated from Stellenbosch University with a Master of Science Engineering in Electromagnetics, and received an MBA in Financial Markets from the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.