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D-Cubed, Software and Saxophones – Q and A with Ian Morrison

by Siemens Visionary Siemens Visionary on ‎06-09-2011 08:17 AM

Behind the D-Cubed products there is an experienced and talented team of software engineers. In this post, I’ve dragged Ian Morrison away from the source code for a few minutes to answer some questions.





Mike: Ian, when did you start working on the D-Cubed components, and what were you doing before then?

Ian: February 1992 I think! I was working for a Cambridge start-up company designing hardware/software for the music industry. Before that I did a degree in Electrical and Information Sciences and a PhD in Signal Processing at Cambridge University.

Mike: Can you give us a summary of what you have worked on as part of the D-Cubed team?

Ian: I have worked on the development of the 2D DCM, 3D DCM and AEM.

Mike: Of all the features and enhancements you have implemented in the products over the years, which do you think had the biggest impact on customers?

Ian: I think automatic solving of over-constrained but consistent configurations in 3D DCM, which was later implemented in 2D DCM.

Mike: So, for the people not familiar with the DCM geometric constraint solvers, this gives users the ability to focus on what they are trying to achieve with their design, without having to be concerned about whether a particular arrangement of constraints is redundant.

Ian: Exactly. In 3 dimensions it is almost impossible to constrain a model in a non-redundant way.

Mike: That would be a great topic to expand on in a future post! Ian, you have been developing complex software which deals with mathematics and geometry for a long time. What are your top tips for developers working in similar fields?

Ian: Don’t compromise on the “right” way to do things.

Prototype quickly, revise the concepts until they are right.

Don’t over-engineer, keep it simple, and don’t try to be clever with your programming language – everyone else working on the project needs to be able to read and understand the code quickly.

Mike: Tell us a bit about what you do outside work.

Ian: I play saxophone in a jazz band, and grow vegetables! But I don’t have a grey beard.

Mike: Your picture at the top of the post confirms that last point is true! Thanks for your time Ian.

In the future I want to tell you about some of the other people behind the products, but for now let me know if you have any questions for Ian about the D-Cubed products, writing complex software, or playing jazz.

Mike