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The future of design by Autodesk

Friday, September 13, 2013

Infinite computing - the idea that you can have as much cloud computing power as you want - might make big differences to design and simulation in the oil and gas industry, reckons Dominic Thasarathar, Strategic Industry Relations manager at Autodesk

''Projects in the oil and gas sector are probably among the most complex across the whole built civil industrial environment,'' says Dominic Thasarathar from Autodesk.

''I will be little cheeky, I will say that actually [just] four processes are involved in planning, designing, building, operating, maintaining physical assets in the industry. These are representation (design), collaboration, simulation and actual representation (building)'', he said.

He was speaking in the Digital Energy Journal event ''Improving offshore design decision making'' on 30 May 2013 in Aberdeen. His company, Autodesk, specialises in 3D design, engineering and entertainment.

''Representation'', is processing an idea with technology, to make some kind of a model. This design representation was previously done with drawings and now is being done with 3D software.

''Collaboration'' is how people work together and how you bring the disciplines, and different companies together and make information flow easily, despite contractural boundaries. ''Today technology can help you do that in many ways, through web collaboration.''

''Simulation'' is working out how to optimize design for best performance. This might include Do you do CFT (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analysis or sustainability analysis, or safety and financial analysis tools. ''You have to ensure the design you have is the best compromise and the best performance across the life cycle,'' he said.

''Realisation'' is the process of settling the project back into the real world. Every digital model may fit the digital 3D environment, but it also has be turned back into the physically built asset.''

Technology trends

There are a number of big technology trends going on which oil and gas professionals should be aware of, he said.

The first of this notion is infinite computers.

''Everybody must have heard about Moore''s Law, the notion that processing power doubles every 18 months,'' he said. ''If you wait for a year, you can go o a supermarket and buy a PC which is twice as powerful as the one you brought last year, because technology improved.''

But now the cloud is looking to sidestep Moore''s law. ''It''s saying, you can now access an unlimited amount of computing cloud in real time on demand,'' he said.

This makes it possible to do much more powerful simulations, which to replicate what goes on in the real world, in the digital environment, he said. ''What that might mean to you the way you do analysis simulation very complex when you design projects?

''So the first thing we going to see more often is high resolution models. This means the ability to have such a level of definition, such a level of visual fidelity, that anybody can do their job without having to query a separate database. What impact might that have on the way you conduct business?''

''What does that mean to your information? Your [oil and gas industry] projects are probably the most information intensive globally,'' he said.

''The world has this problem of creating more and more information every year. In 2010 the world created more information in one year than the entire human history until that point, and by 2020 the world will be doubling the amount of information every 72 hours.''

''Getting your hands around that and turning it into something useful is going to require computing power.''

If you combine this with social networking, you can tap into unlimited human capacity, he said.

You might also be able to see immediately what the results of any design changes would be, rather than spend time analysing the impact of the changes. ''We usually do so much analysis but it''s very much intermediate process; you do the analysis, you do the design and you go back, you do the design and you do the analysis,'' he said.

''If we are living in a digital reality world, there is then potentially the promise of being able to see the impact of the design changes as you make them.''

All of these trends will have ''significant impact on the industry the way you plan, design, deliver or maintain facilities,'' he said.

''Those who are responsible for technology strategy should have an eye to these trends and try to incorporate them into the company before someone else does.''

Associated Companies
» Autodesk

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