ISI Startup Powers High Performance Design for Small Cap Manufacturers

April 9, 2010

A successful DARPA-funded Information Sciences Institute collaboration with a high technology parts manufacturer has taken a giant step upward from R&D to real world applications.

IBM recently announced that it would be working with NIMBIS SERVICES, a USC-affiliated startup whose principals are ISI's Robert Graybill and Brian Schott, to supply cloud computing resources to Woodward Control Resources, a large Ft. Collins, CO-based designer, manufacturer, and service provider of energy control and optimization solutions used in global infrastructure equipment.

According to the IBM announcement, "With cloud-based simulation, Woodward will avoid building physical prototypes of its products and so deliver them to market 80 percent faster while generating half the waste from materials.

"Last year, Woodward, working with the University of Southern California's (USC) Information Sciences Institute (ISI), was part of a supply chain-oriented pilot project to demonstrate this. The goal of the project was to explore how small manufacturers can effectively use high performance cloud computing environments for industrial design and modeling.

"Working with ISI, Woodward tapped in to the IBM Computing on Demand cloud center and found that high performance computing would help the company more accurately model the behavior of fuel nozzles designed for Pratt & Whitney engines.

ISI Project Leader Schott (left) worked with Computer Scientist Lorin Hochstein on this effort, which was run out of ISI's Arlington Virginia campus as part of a $3.67 million DARPA contract.

Graybill, ISI division director for its National Innovation Initiative, represents the Institute in a joint effort with the Council on Competitiveness, a coalition of senior corporate, university and labor leaders committed to improving U.S. competitiveness.

Called the National Innovation Collaboration Ecosystem, the initiative seeks to expand access to, and functionality of, high performance computing to bolster and maintain American innovative superiority. The Woodward collaboration grew out of this initiative.

"Based on the success of this pilot," the IBM release continues, "Woodward will employ cloud services from IBM using Nimbis Services' ecommerce Cloud Portal to simulate and design aircraft components under a manufacturing yield improvement innovation contract from the Defense Logistics Agency, which promotes innovative manufacturing technology and projects under the Industrial Base Innovation Fund (IBIF). The Nimbis ecommerce Cloud Portal will provide Woodward with a private cloud portal and billing system through which it will rent resources in a secure IBM Computing on Demand cloud center and access Ansys simulation software."