It seems strange to be writing my first blog entry – ever. I have posted comments on CFD discussion sites before, but I’m new to blogging.
Being part of Mentor Graphics is a new era for Flomerics, giving us the chance to step up a gear. It feels exciting, a little like it did when Flomerics first started, although there are some rather significant differences. When I joined Flomerics soon after it started in 1989 we were lacking in a few things considered important in business. Customers for example. Not surprising though, as we didn’t have a product either. But we had venture capital funding, a great business plan, and I had a really fast computer: a 386 with a math coprocessor and a new job – at least until we were successful or the money ran out, whichever came first. So, no pressure.
The idea was to create a product that directly supported all requirements (or more accurately the important requirements we knew about) of a vertical application – electronics cooling. Actually two vertical applications, as we had building HVAC as a second product line. One, or ideally both of these markets would prove to be big enough to build a successful business on. Fortunately both did, but it was electronics cooling that really took off.
Hitherto CFD technology was only available as general-purpose solvers, with subroutines that could be recompiled after adding any coding needed for the specific application. One of my more vivid memories of supporting general-purpose CFD was being asked by a customer early one Friday morning how to model electron flow in an plasma arc. Should it be treated as a diffusion process or a convection process, and how? I fondly like to think that what attracted me to Flomerics was the chance to provide excellent support for a vertical application, but perhaps it was just the desire to get away from those kinds of questions, and debugging other people’s source code.
Since those early days, electronics cooling CFD has followed it’s own development trajectory. Driven by the unique needs of the market it serves this has been different to that of general-purpose CFD. It seems likely this will continue well into the future.