LEDAS Responds to D-Cubed / Siemens PLM Software

For obvious reasons, I reproduce a guest editorial (by Dmitry Ushakov, director of product management at LEDAS, Novosibirsk Russia) just published by Ralph Grabowski in his u p F r o n t . e Z i n e, Issue #646. The only additional remark is that the technologies in question will be openly and in details discussed within one of the working groups in September at COFES-Russia seminar in Moscow.

"All About D-Cubed's 2D DCM" (in #645) was especially interesting, since the name of the company I work for (LEDAS) was mentioned. In answering upFront.eZine's question about competitors, D-Cubed's Dr Howarth said that "For the DCM geometric constraint solving components, LEDAS, based in Russia, is a relatively recent entrant". May I make a correction?

LEDAS Ltd. was established eleven years ago -- in 1999. Seven years ago, we began selling our technology component LGS 2D, a direct competitor of D-Cubed's 2D DCM. Our component is designed to support parametric sketching/drawing in 2D/3D CAD/CAM/CAE applications. Since then, a dozen software companies have licensed LGS 2D, as well as our 3D version, LGS 3D (our component that is a competitor of D-Cube's 3D DCM), and embedded them successfully into their applications. So, while we are ten years younger than D-Cubed, we are not new.

From our point of view, the primary difference between us is that D-Cubed is a part of a big vendor, Siemens PLM Systems; we are independent. Siemens PLM Systems competes in the CAD/CAM applications market against other companies who license D-Cubed's components. Do these companies receive the same level of technical support and functionality as do divisions inside Siemens? For example, are any competitors able to license Siemens' synchronous technology? This is not a question that our customers need to ask, for all of our technologies are completely available to them, because we do not compete with our customers.

We are aware of Dr. Owen (founder of D-Cubed) and his remarkable contribution to the field of geometric constraint solving. At the same time, it is worthwhile mentioning the contributions of other researchers. Among them are Prof. Hoffmann from Purdue University (USA), Prof. Michelucci from Université de Bourgogne (France), and Prof. Clement from Dassault Systemes (France), as well as other pioneer researchers whose work on solving geometric constraints go as far back as 1975.

Constraints Solved to the Users' Satisfaction
Whereas algorithmic issues have been elaborated enough during the last thirty years, there are just a few commercial geometric constraint solvers on the market. In my opinion, it is not enough to only solve the constraint satisfaction problem. What is also needed is a way to find a solution that best corresponds to the expectations of end-users -- this is called natural behavior, and sometimes depends on the subjective opinions of users. The maturity of a particular commercial technology for constraint solving is based on continuous improvement in the quality of its solving procedure. This process is driven by requests from customers who use the solver in different contexts.

LEDAS also does research in constraint solving. It seems that our team is somewhat similar in its scientific and technical background to the one Dr Howarth works with; in particular, about half of our developers have their Ph.D.s and many others have a good chance to receiving it. This brain power is necessary, because the development of CAD components combines strong mathematical, computer science, and software engineering know-how. We actively collaborate with universities, such as the ongoing research at Purdue University (USA) in the field of CAD user interfaces. Together, we are improving constraint-driven freehand sketching, which is the key to building robust sketch-aware systems and sketch-based interfaces for future CAD systems.

Some customers who license our technology are not only traditional CAD vendors (Tecnos G.A. and CD-adapco), but also firms who embed our LGS 3D component into custom CAD systems. Joe Gibbs Racing of NASCAR, for example, is using our software to assemble suspension parts onto the chassis. Other customers prefer to exploit our mathematically-skilled team to develop proprietary key components, such as for CATIA V5, which has been on the market now for several years.

Last year, we collaborated with Open Design Alliance, a non-profit consortium of over 2,000 software developers, to integrate our LGS 2D geometric constraint solver into their Teigha platform, and is fully compatible with the DWG 2010 file format. Now our solver is available to ODA members who require constraint support for their applications.

Constraint Technology for the Future
One of Dr. Howarth's interesting points is regarding the future direction for geometric constraint solvers. We share his vision of increasing the use of 3D solvers as the engine for a new generation of direct modelers. For us, this is an important field of research. As direct modelers become more popular, the question becomes how to keep design intent in a history-free environment. To answer the question, LEDAS is now developing our "variational direct modeling" (VDM) technology.

(VDM allows users to intelligently modify any parameter in a direct modeling system, while design intent is automatically recognized by our engine and expressed as a set of geometric and engineering constraints. We have developed a plug-in for McNeel & Associates' Rhinoceros direct modeling software, which allows anyone to evaluate our VDM technology.)

I trust that this addition to the Dr. Howarth interview is useful for readers of upFront.eZine, and I am available to answer further questions at ushakov@ledas.com."

[Dmitry Ushakov is director of product management at LEDAS, Novosibirsk Russia.]


COFES-Russia Update and Deelip Menezes

Today, at the very end of my Siberian working day, I've published at isicad.net a new - rather detailed - agenda of the COFES-Russia Seminar which will be held this September in Moscow. Then some small time later, I decided to put in my blog a link to this agenda - to add it some promotion.

However before I made this link, I found out that Deelip Menezes has already published his post about my new agenda. Deelip is a real professional!

Well, I decided it would be better if, instead of going directly to isicad.net, you go there via this Deelip's post and his comments.


COFES-Russia and isicad-2010: Program Update

NB: if you came to this post after May 4, please go to COFES-Russia program update published at isicad.net where some new editing has been made.


COFES-Russia seminar organized by Cyon Research and LEDAS will be held in Moscow on September, 21. The seminar is organized in the framework of the 4th International Forum isicad powered by LEDAS. See some related references below.

A week ago, the event’s program was refined and included – somewhat in traditions of COFES – a number of working groups (WG). Organizing committee in coordination with Brad Holtz has specified six WGs. There will be two rounds (in total – 3 hours) each round includes three WGs that will be working in parallel during 1.5 hours. After these rounds are over, there will be a joint integrating round table + press-conference.

Following 6 working groups are planned.

1. Direct Modeling as a Basis of Future Intelligent CAD
Creation and editing engineering data
- Comparative analysis of history-based parametric modeling with direct geometry editing: advantages and drawbacks of each approach
- Presentation of direct editing tools in popular CAD packages
- How to keep design intent in history-free environment
- What will be the CAD exchange format after 50 years

2. News & trends in PLM/PDM
Engineering data management:
- Key tasks of PLM in the next decade
- Digital Prototyping vs. Full-Scale PLM
- Open-source PLM/PDM
- Integrated PLM-ERP-MES Systems
- Cloudy PLM

3. Marketing and Advertizing in the Era of Global Social Networks
New ways of engineering software marketing:
- Rich 3D Media vs. paper media
- Social Networks and Communities
- Inbound Marketing, Community Building,...

4. CAD-training for future engineers
- Early CAD education in the school
- Software Users or Engineers?
- More discoverable software
- On-line e-books and trainings
- The role of 3D Media in the education process
- The role of new hardware devices in the education: Google Set Top, iPad, ...

5. New business-models for engineering software
- Cloud computing and SaaS
- FOSS(Free and Open Source Software)CAD/CAM/CAE/PLM...

6. New hardware technologies for engineering software
- GPU usage in CAD/CAM/CAE
- 3D pointing devices and multi-touch.
- 3D printing
- Augmented reality

Everybody is kindly invited to give their comments and propose more hot topics.

Related references:
- Brief COFES-Russia English info
- Russian isicad-2010 web site
- Cyon Research announces COFES Russia Seminar in partnership with LEDAS
- COFES-Russia Seminar and Multi-vendor Forum isicad-2010 in Moscow
- HP and PTC support COFES-Russia Seminar in September 2010
- Join Deelip Menezes to attend COFES-Russia and isicad-2010 in Moscow
- Previous isicad Forums:
2004, 2006, and 2008