Podcast: Digital Engineering News Roundup for Oct. 19, 2018

Altair acquires SIMSOLID, Greenlight Insights hosts Virtual Reality Strategy Conference, new book contemplates the dreadfed AI revolt, and more

Listen to the top news items for the week of Oct 18, 2018. Altair acquires SIMSOLID, Greenlight Insights hosts Virtual Strategy Strategy Conference, new book contemplates the dreaded AI revolt, and more

Altair buys SIMSOLID

In 2016 CAD veteran Ken Welch cofounded and launched SIMSOLID, to propose a different kind of simulation workflow – one where you don’t need to mesh or clean up your geometry. This week, SIMSOLID was acquired by Altair, known for its HyperWorks simulation software suite and OptiStruct solver.

In the press release about the acquisition, James Scapa, Altair’s founder, chairman and CEO, calls SIMSOLID “a revolutionary technology breakthrough.”

Preparing a highly detailed CAD model for simulation involves (1) stripping off small details that are part of the manufacturing model but are not necessary in simulation, and (2) meshing or subdividing the model into tiny elements. SIMSOLID champions what it calls meshless simulation, allowing you to skip the two time-consuming steps mentioned above.

The implication is, your simulation jobs—especially those involving large, complex assemblies—are expected to be faster.

After the acquisition, SIMSOLID employees and executives become Altair employees, and SIMSOLID will remain as a brand unto itself, according to Ken Welch.

Greenlight Insights Hosts VRS 2018

Greenlight Insights, an analyst firm that focus on the emerging AR-VR technologies, just hosted the Virtual Reality Strategy Conference (VRS) in San Francisco. Panel discussions involve bringing AR-VR to the masses, what venture funds and investors look for in startups in this space, and how AR-VR might be used by frontline employees, from manufacturing assembly employees to surgeons. The last one was a panel moderated by DE’s editor Kenneth Wong.

The term VR and AR are widely used, but, judging from the talks at this conference, the term XR may be more appropriate, where X stands for the difficult-to-express modes of reality computing, encompassing virtual, augmented, and mixed reality systems.

In its latest 69-page report, Greenlight Insights look at AR-VR implementation that goes beyond head-mounted displays. That’s the often-overlooked market revolving around immersive domes and CAVE displays—a market that, in Greenlight Insights estimates, will be worth over $400 million by 2023.

MathWorks Launches 5G Toolbox

Last week, MathWorks, the company behind MATLAB, launched a new 5G Toolbox, aimed at people who need to model, simulate, and test 5G communication systems.

The 5G Toolbox is part of the latest release of MATLAB, widely used for engineering calculation and programming. The software includes a series of toolboxes to enable data analysis, deep learning, computer vision, and more.

The 5G Toolbox is part of MATLAB R2018b, launched in September. With the toolbox, “you can configure, simulate, measure, and analyze end-to-end communications links,” according to MathWorks.

The toolbox includes reference models that you can use to build devices that leverage the 5G capacity. It also includes the ability to generate wave forms and test signals, which can help identify optimal placements of antennas and transmitters in mechanical assemblies and enclosures.

5G gives another communication option for IoT-type connected devices, so the 5G toolbox may play a role in, for example, the design and testing of field-deployed temperature sensors, wearables health monitoring devices, smart thermostats, and others.

Will computers revolt? New book examines the dreaded AI scenario.

In his new book, Charles J. Simon, with degrees in both electrical engineering and computer science, asks the dreaded question on AI developers’ mind: Will Computers Revolt? That’s also the title of the book.

“The ability of computers to think like humans, may seem like a science fantasy set far in the future, but in reality, is right around the corner,” the author points out. “Without a degree in Computer Engineering how can one understand what this technology is, how it works, and what its implications for our society as a whole?”

In the excerpt posted on his site, Charles points out, “A computer intelligence unit is not necessarily different from you and me. Given the same sensory apparatus and experiences, an electronic brain could be quite similar to a biological one.”

The 240-page book’s table of content includes some other provocative questions, like: Will self-driving cars kill people? Can AI be regulated? How can a machine feel? And, ending on a positive note, the peaceful coexistence [of men and machines].

The book is now available in PDF or paperback and hardcover versions at the site http://willcomputersrevolt.com. For a limited time, the PDF version is only $4.99—a small price to settle an apocalyptic question.


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Kenneth Wong

Kenneth Wong is Digital Engineering’s resident blogger and senior editor. Email him at [email protected] or share your thoughts on this article at digitaleng.news/facebook.

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