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This Week in HPC: HPC Gets the Drop on Design Simulation — A Collaboration With Dell, Intel, and Alt

by Addison Snell, Michael Feldman
for Intersect360 Research
September 2014


The following is an excerpt from the weekly Intersect360 Research podcast, “This Week in HPC,” available on iTunes, Stitcher, and through our media partnership with insideHPC. The full podcast can be found at and is hosted at

In this special podcast episode, recorded on September 12, 2014, host analysts Addison Snell and Michael Feldman interview Martin Hilgeman, HPC Consultant with Dell, Stephan Gillich, Director Technical Computing AMEA at Intel, and Eric LeQuiniou, Director of High Performance Computing at Altair, concerning a collaboration between Dell, Intel, and Altair to advance design simulation.

Addison Snell: Michael, we’ve got a special episode this week, for a particular news story that we saw. There’s a new benchmark study out this week on an interesting application that we haven’t seen a lot of previously, it’s a drop-testing application and it’s a joint benchmark result published by Dell, Intel, and Altair altogether.

Michael Feldman: Yeah, it is a very interesting application, it’s one that I don’t think necessarily easily comes to mind when most people think about HPC. I mean, it certainly didn’t come to my mind. But as I read the white paper I really had an appreciation for how complex something like drop testing is, essentially dropping something and seeing how it will react, the reliability of it, if things break apart, that sort of thing. It seems like a simple thing, and yet there’s a lot to it and that’s why it needs HPC, and obviously we’re going to elaborate on that in just a moment, but yeah, a very interesting application that they’ve tackled here.

AS: Well sure, in traditional HPC you think of things like crash testing of cars, and those are life-anddeath simulations, but when you drop your cell phone on the floor you’d like it if your cell phone doesn’t break, too. And that can be a pretty complicated crash simulation as well. And to discuss this application with us we brought in representatives from each of the companies involved, Intel, Dell, and Altair. I’m going to introduce our guests here now starting with Intel, we’ve got Stephan Gillich, who’s the Director of Technical Computing for EMEA at Intel, Stephan, thanks for joining us.

Stephan Gillich: Thanks, Addison.

AS: And from Dell we have Martin Hilgeman, who’s an HPC consultant at Dell. Martin, thanks for being on the call.

Martin Hilgeman: You’re welcome, Addison.

AS: And from Altair, Eric LeQuiniou, who’s the Director of High Performance Computing at Altair. Eric, thanks for coming on.

Eric LeQuiniou: Hi Addison.

AS: So you know we were just talking about this application here, can you describe for us this application and its relevance to industry – why it needs HPC? Stephan, why don’t we start with you on that one?

SG: Well, thanks Addison. It opens up a key point, you can call it drop testing or impact analysis. It actually is a key stat in product design because you want products which are being designed to be stable and robust in daily life. You gave the example of cars, where it’s pretty obvious and this has been done since many years already to do crash testing with cars, and software has been developed for this from Altair which does a fair job on this. And it’s essential, obviously, for a car that whoever is in the car has the best chances to survive an impact, so that’s an obvious explanation, but if you’re looking to an extension of that into other products, one example, for instance, is a mobile phone.

Everyone has one and the smart phones, we all know, they drop and then obviously you want, when it’s dropped, that nothing breaks. So, how do you best achieve that? Obviously you could do a drop test when you have completed your design and then you find out it’s not good at that and it breaks very easily, to go back to the design phase is very costly. Now as we have said with the car crash testing, software can achieve that, and when you use software from Altair for this, like RADIOSS is one component, which our colleague from Altair will explain, then you can really achieve the best, most robust design in terms of drop testing before you actually produce any kind of prototype, and you save a lot of time, as well as cost in the product development.

AS: Well this is a similar thing that we’ve seen with large product manufacturing with auto and aero where you want to get these designs right earlier in the process. You were talking about RADIOSS and Eric, this is something that you see consumer product manufacturing on the rise in its use of HPC?

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