I would rank Altair’s decision to make Radioss available as open source in at least my top 10 events in HPC for 2022. I cannot tell you when I first found out this was going to happen…no, really, I was under NDA. I can say I did not see it coming, and my first thought was, “whoa!” I would have even put money down that you’d never see a code as big and popular as Radioss make this move. Yet the more that it sat in my head, the more it made sense to me. Altair standing up the OpenRadioss community is a big deal.
Pace of Technology
Maybe the biggest reason I think this is huge is the current environment of fast-paced silicon arriving. I think that I’m happy I no longer develop code, because the landscape seems to get more complicated every day. The CPU market has become competitive with multiple architectures, stacked cache, high bandwidth memory, and even special extensions to special instructions. The coder has a lot to think about. That includes developing for accelerators from the big 3 silicon vendors, each with its own special elements. I doubt we even know how many custom accelerators are coming. Gotta think there are developers waking up in the middle of the night.
I assume this is a big element behind Altair’s decision. Stand up the community to help speed the rate that Radioss can adjust to this massive influx of technology. It screams community, and the open source licensing models make it conducive to moving quickly. In fact, we at CIQ containerized a basic build of OpenRadioss within days of the announcement and availability of the code. Using Apptainer, we solidified a build of a specific tag and used it to simulate a Toyota Camry crash test. With Apptainer, you can easily distribute that version to run on your on-premise or cloud environments. Of course, we also tested this running on Rocky Linux. Now, we’re pushing the container definition back to the community. With many people already active in the community, Radioss already seems to be picking up speed.
Everyone Needs Simulation
When it comes to creative design processes, everyone needs simulation. In this day and age, if you aren’t using computing as part of your manufacturing design process, you are likely a boutique shoppe (sic) or having trouble staying at the forefront of your area. Simulation provides massive value from speeding the design process, to reducing manufacturing cost, to lessening need on physical prototypes. That’s just the basics.
Digital twins, generative designs, and artificial intelligence are all quickly gaining traction in the simulation and modeling world. Digital twins simulating the actual operation of their physical counterpart. Generative design exploring parameters that its human controller wouldn’t necessarily think about. Artificial intelligence helping eliminate bad design choices quickly and helping focus on the most probable paths to optimized product.
Surprisingly, though, simulation is not as prevalent as one might think. Get outside of the formal High Performance Computing (HPC) circles, and you find a world that is still trying to grapple with the pace of technology. In fact, there is an initiative and organization called ASSESS, recently acquired by NAFEMS, with the mission to promote and expand the use of simulation. It’s not a straight-forward adoption problem, but a complex integration of regulations, process engineering, and computing. The mission of ASSESS, though, keeps focus on the value that simulation provides. Everyone needs simulation.
Standing up the OpenRadioss community has already shown big benefits. CIQ is already one of many companies that have already contributed to the growth of OpenRadioss. You can check out the growing number of contributors on the OpenRadioss.org site. Blatant foreshadow alerts: I expect this momentum to continue with many announcements streaming over the next bit of time. I think Altair has made a real boss move here. I think their professional support clientele are going to reap the benefits by having the community behind the code. It’s going to grow the user base and, I suspect, grow Altair revenue at the same time. OpenRadioss is a big deal!
Simply put, in its containerized form, OpenRadioss is ready to be installed on nearly any type of host environment.
The benefits of containerizing OpenRadioss with Apptainer are many. It will speed integration of underlying technologies without diminishing the value of the commercial version of Altair Radioss. In addition, containerizing:
- Creates a binary image from a specific version of OpenRadioss source.
- Simplifies deployment across a range of user systems from workstations to clusters to cloud.
- Adds cryptographic signing capabilities for security and zero-trust environments.
At CIQ, we’re eager to help drive further adoption of Radioss by providing a stable and scalable containerization platform with Rocky Linux and Apptainer. Eric Lequinious, vice president Radioss Development & Altair Solver HPC, said it best: “What an impressive contribution from CIQ! Having OpenRadioss containerized makes the code even more accessible. This is a perfect illustration of how contributions from a highly engaged open-source community accelerate the pace of innovation!”
As a reminder, earlier this month, Altair open sourced Radioss. OpenRadioss is now freely available for engineers who are interested in simulating automotive crash and safety, shock and impact analysis, electronic and consumer goods drop testing, fluid structure interactions, and more.