Design & SimulationDecember 9, 2022

Ask Me Engineering: PowerFLOW on the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud Platform

Learn about how the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud provides secure, web-based access to SIMULA Fluids applications like the PowerFLOW software suite.
Avatar Katie Corey

Curious about our products, their capabilities, and how they can help you to meet and exceed your goals? In this ongoing series, you will hear directly from SIMULIA experts on a wide-range of simulation topics. Today we talk to Justin Sacco, a Senior Product Manager, about how 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud provides secure, web-based access to SIMULIA Fluids applications, specifically the PowerFLOW software suite.


3DEXPERIENCE Cloud provides secure, web-based access to SIMULIA Fluids applications. SIMULIA PowerFLOW is a multi-user system that enables engineers to easily and intuitively manage simulation projects, to collaborate seamlessly with colleagues, and use powerful simulation or results analysis tools with just a web browser. Customers pay only for simulation use, with 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud providing access to virtual, secure, high-performance computing capacity. 

Ask Me Engineering: PowerFLOW on the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud
Justin Sacco

Q: Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

A: I’m Justin Sacco, a Senior Product Manager in the SIMULIA brand. I focus on working with the PowerFLOW software suite, the best Lattice Boltzmann Method solver, on the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud.

Q: What is the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform? What differentiates it from other similar types of products on the market?

A: The 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud is Dassault Systèmes’s offering for a cloud environment where users can design, simulate, and analyze their models, without a need for them to invest in expensive computing resources installed at their location. SIMULIA has extensive experience with this through our current cloud offering, SIMULIA Cloud. The 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud allows us to combine all the benefits of using SIMULIA Cloud with the power of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform users can use the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform to plan, organize, and design, and then evaluate those designs using simulation on the cloud, without having to leave the environment.

Q: Cloud seems naturally associated with collaboration. How important is that for engineering teams? How would teams benefit with 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud?

A: Engineering is a collaborative discipline, with people from different teams working together to solve problems. A centralized cloud environment enables geographically separated teams to collaborate and avoid duplication of efforts. The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is a business and innovation platform that provides organizations with a holistic, real-time vision of their business activity and ecosystem. It allows teams to work from anywhere, anytime, and have access to the same data and tools. The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is crucial for engineering to eliminate the error-prone file-based data or information transfer that can delay and hinder a project. Collaboration goes hand-in hand with resource sharing. To enable resource sharing, we have introduced the Unified Solver Licensing model that provides true flexibility in harnessing the power of the SIMULIA portfolio.

Q: What is Unified Solver Licensing model?

A: All SIMULIA solvers are now accessible under the Unified Solver Licensing model. With this option, you use a single pool of tokens/credits across disciplines. It can be used for the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform and traditional products. It is easy to understand, use, and manage. You can Contact us to see if the Unified Solver Licensing can provide value to your organization.

Q: Can you talk about how 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud enables true multidisciplinary engineering design?

A: The 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud is a discipline agnostic environment, like the platform. Since the user can design whatever they want on the platform, they need to be able to do whatever analysis they need to and go with that. On the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform cloud, all users work on a common simulation model. Any engineering team could do their analysis on that model, so the users can do fluid, thermal, structural and electromagnetic analysis, all with the same model in the same environment. The model is updated in real-time and the platform acts as a single version of the truth. This forms the foundation to create and visualize a Virtual Twin of a complex system.

Q: What is a “virtual twin?” Can you tell us the value of “virtual twin” with 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud?

A: The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is built on the idea of a virtual twin: that the model the user creates should be a true virtual representation of the exact ‘real’ thing they intend to build – true to shape, true to behavior, true to performance, true to the consumer’s experience. Historically, when doing engineering analysis, usually models are simplified to reduce the complexity for a number of reasons: too difficult to simulate the ‘true’ model; only interested in studying a certain aspect of the model, etc. That means that every time analysis is done on the model, usually a new ‘simulation model’ needs to be prepared. We believe in the common model approach: that the digital model should be a virtual twin of the real design, and that the user should be able to analyze whatever part of that model they want without having to simplify it. The platform allows the user to design that model. The 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud provides the computational resources to simulate that model. The cloud is scalable up to very large numbers of processors, so the size of the model should never be a hindrance to analysis. PowerFLOW is one technology enabler for virtual twin.  Our unique Lattice Boltzmann-based physics PowerFLOW CFD solution performs simulations that accurately predict real world conditions.

Q: Can you talk about your plans for PowerFLOW on 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud as we go into 2023?

A: We plan to deliver an end-to-end PowerFLOW workflow on 3DEXPERIENCE that matches, if not betters, our current process on SIMULIA Cloud. This includes in-brower remote sessions for clients with the additional benefit that customers will be able to access more advanced meshing functionality and GPU computation OOTB. The PowerFLOW connection to the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform closes the loop between product design and simulation, in order to break silos between designers and simulation engineers. We envision run templates and management that enable automation of complex real-world scenarios requiring multi-step simulations to play a crucial role in closing this gap.

Q: There is a phrase about automated flexible templates being a key part of the solution.  Can you describe what is meant by “flexible run templates” and how they enable automation of complex industrial PowerFLOW workflows with best practices?

A: My background is with the PowerFLOW team, and over the years we have found one of the best ways to enable simulation success is to provide templates that do most of the difficult setup and analysis work for the user. That started with templates for each part of the simulation process, in each tool that is used for that. So there were geometry templates, and simulation case setup templates, and post-processing templates. These were very beneficial to the user, but the user still had to run each step of the process. That leads to our latest development: run templates, as they are called. Run templates are the entire process put into a template, where if the users has their simulation model and the correct template for what they want to analyze, the process is basically turn-key. We support these templates currently on-premise and in 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud. In an upcoming release in early 2023, they should be available on the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud as well. Run templates help solve complex CFD workflows and is only one side of the story. To realize the dream of multidisciplinary engineering design and virtual twin, we need cost-effective and practical computing solutions. Progressive engineering teams are taking advantage of GPU computation.

Q: What can you tell us about GPU computation?

A: In general, GPU computing is the next frontier in high-performance computing (HPC) environments. Historically, it has taken a large HPC system to run fluids simulations; many systems of many cpus. GPU computing allows for replacing entire systems with a single card; our experience shows approximately 1 high level general purpose GPU can replace approx. 150 cpu cores. Since hardware cost is also a component to simulation, this should allow for cost savings, bringing down some barriers to entry for simulation for new and small business that historically have not been able to afford the environment needed to run high fidelity simulation.

Learn more about the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud.

SIMULIA offers an advanced simulation product portfolio, including AbaqusIsightfe-safeToscaSimpoe-MoldSIMPACKCST Studio SuiteXFlowPowerFLOW, and more. The SIMULIA Community is the place to find the latest resources for SIMULIA software and to collaborate with other users. The key that unlocks the door of innovative thinking and knowledge building, the SIMULIA Community provides you with the tools you need to expand your knowledge, whenever and wherever.

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