During your studies to become a fluid dynamics expert, did you have a full semester on coding? I mean serious coding, beyond being given definitions, executing Hello World, and doing a few exercises. Chances are, your answer is no. Though coding is beautiful, it’s probably not what drove you to become a CFD engineer. And if you’re like me, you probably feel like the fewer lines of code to write, the better.
Configuration, not code. That’s a mantra that’s followed me throughout my own career. Which is rather ironic, given that I contributed to our first Java training course for Simcenter STAR-CCM+ users several years ago. I have subsequently realized that giving the power of configuration to the user (and not depending on coding teams) frees organizations to become instantly more agile … and even if you can’t configure every workflow or process, tackling the most common ones is liberating and will allow users to spend their valuable time where it matters most.
If I fast forward from the time where I gave that first Java training to today’s version of Simcenter STAR-CCM+, I can proudly say that we have come a very long way towards automating your simulation processes without requiring you to write a lot of macros. Even if someone thinks that Java is only an island in Indonesia, today they can create very complete, parameterized and repeatable Simcenter STAR-CCM+ simulations (you can read more about it in Simcenter STAR-CCM+ 2019.1 Preview: the Automation Awards). And if you think “a Class” is only something you sit (or fall asleep) in, it doesn’t matter because with Simcenter STAR-CCM+ you can deploy expert-grade simulation templates for your engineering application. The good news is, with Simcenter STAR-CCM+ today, you can drive significantly more automation without needing to resort to Java (macros). Maybe with all that time saved, you can take some time off and go to a resort in Java instead!
In Simcenter STAR-CCM+ 2019.2, Simulation Operations will let you orchestrate and seamlessly execute your simulation operational sequence, natively, without code.
With a series of control and task operations, you’ll be able to create sequences of steps, loops, conditions, triggering some of the most common actions in Simcenter STAR-CCM+. For example, you will no longer need a macro to first mesh then activate and deactivate different physics continua and solve, while a stopping criterion isn't fulfilled. And if you run applications with adjoint, no need for that side-kick macro to solve the primal, then the adjoint. Look for a preview blog on this in the coming weeks.
As a concept, it isn’t really new for Simcenter STAR-CCM+. We have had native automation sequences in Simcenter STAR-CCM+ for a long time. A great example is our Geometry Operations: released several years ago, they provide unmatched automation to prepare the fluid domain for analysis, manipulating the geometry and meshing in a single pipeline. You can also read about other examples in STAR-CCM+ v12.04: Two mouse clicks? Hold that thought!
But extending that concept to overarching 'execution' actions is new, and frankly liberating. Here is a Conjugate Heat Transfer example of a manifold using Simulation Operations: solving in the same simulation a steady fluid, and an unsteady solid; eliminating (a modest) 36 lines of Java (if you want to read more on some of the physics architecture used, you can read about it in Bridging the timescale gap in CHT applications).
Replacing (where possible) Java macros with native Simcenter STAR-CCM+ automation will make you more agile, easily amenable to adopt the latest releases, and more resilient against the diminishing level of the Java expertise surrounding you. You can view, edit, test, the automation sequence inside the Simcenter STAR-CCM+ interface, with no need to install a Java IDE or to decipher the code and the API, ultimately giving you more trust in the automation.
Our current internal record is at 690 lines of Java script eliminated with an equivalent (and more reliable) workflow using Simulation Operations. Why not give it a try and let us know if you can do better?
To become instantly more productive, download Simcenter STAR-CCM+ 2019.2 when released later next month.