This Week in CFD

News in Brief

A beautiful photograph of the Space Shuttle in a wind tunnel at a high supersonic Mach number with shock waves illuminated by electron-beam fluorescence. Image from FYFD. Click to go to the post.

A beautiful photograph of the Space Shuttle in a wind tunnel at a high supersonic Mach number with shock waves illuminated by electron beam fluorescence. Image from FYFD. Click to go to the post.

News in Depth (i.e. TL;DR)

  • When anywhere between 30% and 70% of an analyst’s time is spent cleaning up CAD geometry you know there’s a problem. Desktop Engineering presents the CAD-CAE cleanup headache. A few thoughts:
    • Best quote: “What’s important? Who’s asking?” The important parts of a CAD model depend on who needs to use that model. A one-size fits all solution does not apply here.
    • Worst quote: “Is it fair to put the burden on the designer?” Just recently I read that we need to begin using the word design as a verb instead of a noun. The designer’s job [IMO] is not to create a geometric artifact (i.e. the CAD model). The designer’s job is to create an object that meets certain performance and functional objectives. The latter is driven by analysis and therefore it’s the designer’s job, not a burden. [I am not implying this is easy.]
  • Two presentations on the past decades of CFD development are available for you review.
CFD simulation of a toilet at Mach 0.8 performed by GoVirtual using Pointwise, CFD++, and FieldView. Included here just because.

CFD simulation of a toilet at Mach 0.8 performed by GoVirtual using Pointwise, CFD++, and FieldView. Included here just because.

Brief News

  • One man makes the case that computers love to think in triangles, essentially turning everything into a mesh. [I think the situation is more properly stated as programmers love to think in triangles.]
  • SolidProfessor has a new website with new training tools for SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor and more.
  • Just a reminder that you have until 31 December to take advantage of CD-adapco’s 2-for-1 registration offer for the STAR Global Conference 2014 (and have a chance to win a TV).
  • Tech Soft 3D acquired tetra4D. This transaction brings together the developers of 3D PDF technology (the former) with distribution of 3D PDF end-user products (the latter).
  • Flow Science was named one of the best places to work in New Mexico, one of 10 medium-sized businesses to be recognized.

Code of Ethics for Programmers?

Over on Fast Company’s Co.LABS site, the question is raised whether software developers (aka programmers) need to adopt and be held to a standard code of ethics.

As someone closely involved in a programming enterprise this is an provocative question to consider. As the article points out, other professions have ethics codes (lawyers, doctors, etc.). I believe [someone correct me if this is wrong] that professional engineers are subject to some sort of code of conduct as part of their licensing as a PE.

But in my opinion, the answer is no – programmers as a profession do not need their own code of ethics. And quite frankly, the other professions don’t need one either.

Back in the day when I worked for a large defense contractor, one of their corporate VPs got busted for a misdeed like bribery or something. I don’t recall the specifics. But the trickle-down result of that was that every employee had to undergo ethics training and then sign a form stating that they’d behave ethically.

Do you see the fallacy? An ethical person needed neither the training nor the signature to guide their behavior. An unethical person would sign the form regardless and carry on with their nefarious ways.

People are either ethical or unethical and that aspect of their personality is established [in my opinion] by the time they’re 18. Undergraduate instruction, seminars, and signed oaths do little to modify their behavior.

Does that mean businesses, software or otherwise, should operate like a Roman bacchanalia? Of course not. The organization has a responsibility to operate in a professional manner. In fact, I would argue that professional conduct is a key success factor.

We should guard against the false belief that the existence of a programmer’s code of ethics would effectively safeguard the software-buying public. Caveat emptor will always apply.

Briefly, The News

Are Ants a Fluid or a Solid?

Ha – obviously a trick question. They are a viscoelastic solid, exhibiting both liquid and solid behavior depending on strain rate (similar to Silly Putty). On the left you see a stream of ants flowing like a fluid (low strain rate) while on the right you see ants’ solidity under a high strain rate.

The physics here are incontrovertible. No counter arguments will be accepted.

Ant flow on the left, ant solid on the right. Click image for an animation. Originally seen from Cliff Pickover. Image from Oddly_Even.

Ant flow on the left, ant solid on the right. Click image for an animation. Originally seen from Cliff Pickover. Image from Oddly_Even.

P.S. I apologize for the length of this post and won’t hold it against you if you tl;dr.

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2 Responses to This Week in CFD

  1. On Reddit, where I’d originally seen the initialism, TL;DR is used after a very long entry by the author to briefly summarize the entry’s content because it’s too long, didn’t read. I’m not sure you captured this concept in your blog entry.

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