John McCarthy, the father of LISP, has spent much time in Novosibirsk...

Two days ago died John McCarthy. Wikipedia: "He was an American computer scientist and cognitive scientist who received the Turing Award in 1971 for his major contributions to the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). He was responsible for the coining of the term "Artificial Intelligence" in his 1955 proposal for the 1956 Dartmouth Conference and was the inventor of the Lisp programming language".

John had a close cooperation (I'd say - friendship) with the Informatics Department (later - Novosibirsk Institute of Informatics Systems - ISI). I believe that it was also due to John's influence that an AI lab has been organized at ISI - where I was working for a long time, made my PhD thesis, and much more... My University mate developed in Novosibirsk one of the first ever and best implementations of LISP: John McCarthy who spent much time in Novosibirsk has himself written a lot of tests for this implementation. The ISI archive contains many old photos, here is one of them: John McCarthy (41) - at a celebration of 10 years of Informatics Department:


What is the Strength of LEDAS. Part IV: Today the Company leaders are 30-year old aces

I continue a series of publications “What is the Strength of LEDAS” that I started in May (see the links below). Today’s notes are about just announced changes in LEDAS management.  If you wish to read our official press-release, please see the link below.

Aleksey Ershov is appointed the company СЕО. Aleksey has outstanding abilities in several fields, and therefore he can be confidently called a “decathlete” of the highest qualification: such sportsmen are especially valuable. Aleksey masterminded many key algorithms in geometric solvers developed in LEDAS or where LEDAS involvement was crucial; so it’s not surprising that for many years he managed all LGS-related projects, and as the СТО was the first to analyze project applications, complete technological and resource assessment, select the most appropriate developers, etc. Mentioning PhD dissertations would hardly add anything on this context, but I can’t help citing the titles of the dissertations of our staff, successfully defended quite a while ago in front of reputable and rigorous Dissertation Councils. Aleksey Ershov: "Algorithms and software systems for solving geometric problems of parametric design".

LEDAS has introduced a position of Chief Operating Officer, filled by Nikolai Snytnikov. Nicolai is an outstanding manager and top expert. Combined with his efficient and tough-minded analytical abilities and communication skills, it forms the basis for his successful cooperation with both customers and members of staff. I’d like to add that Nikolai amazed Dassault Systemes with his effective management of a service project, the importance of which for the customer could hardly be exaggerated; at the same time Nikolai was perfect in organizing new projects, where he had to promptly master unknown technologies for LEDAS - for instance, localizations of some industrial products. His PhD dissertation was on: "Supercomputer simulation of 3D dynamics of gravitating systems".

Ivan Rykov is promoted from a position of the Director on Component Development Technology to the CTO. In every project where he participated, Ivan demonstrated unique abilities of a designer of very efficient algorithms, developer and expert: these qualities, coupled with broad knowledge and expertise and ability to unravel new fields, are especially useful and valuable to LEDAS at the stage of expanding the current projects and opening up new avenues. Ivan’s abilities were fully manifested in various projects: from planning systems and crucial modules commissioned by some CAD-market leaders to direct management of LGS 2D development and (currently) a very science-intensive and productivity-demanding JETCAM project. His PhD research was about "Algorithms with perform guarantees for the discrete problems of ordering and selection on deterministic and stochastic inputs ".

I can tell numerous interesting life facts about all of these colleagues of mine. For instance, Ivan Rykov got only top grades at every exams he had to pass in course of his studies at the Faculty of Mathematics (Novosibirsk State University), and once he bicycled 2000 km sightseeing and camping across Germany: looks like it can be very cost-effective to send him to LEDAS customers in Europe:)...       

I am pleased to emphasize that Alexei is 32, Nikolai - 29, and Ivan - 28. Without showing any indulgence, I can state that these guys are unique and mature specialists with a considerable work experience (already 8 - 10 years) in the most important LEDAS projects. They came to us as students and following the company tradition were immediately put to the major projects, where they simply shined. Overall, I cannot imagine better managers for the company that seems to be (temporarily?) tired from inventing own technologies and products and prefers to focus on diverse projects, including some crucially difficult software development assignments.

Dmitry Ushakov will remain on the Board of LEDAS Directors and the key participant of isicad projects. He will continue making significant contribution in development of LEDAS group. Along with several contractual obligations confirming this statement, I would like to add that it is in LEDAS and on LEDAS materials Dmitry has risen to a reputable world-class expert, so ongoing cooperation with him is of mutual creative interest, and I would say, just for the fun of it. In his letter to LEDAS members of staff, Dmitry, wrote, in particular: "...There are several reasons for me joining Bricsys, but one of main is the impulse that I received nearly 20 years ago from the works of now-deceased Professor Narinyani and from our brief communication... The impulse was so powerful that it is still in effect. “A declaration instead of an algorithm”, “”what” instead of “how””, “constraints instead of procedures” – all these have deep true-life and even philosophical sense that I hope to continue successfully realizing at Bricsys"... Dmitry is a veteran of LEDAS and its academic history but he is only 38 with great prospects.

So everything is shaping naturally and (somewhat surprisingly) in an appropriate and timely order.

Official press-release:  LEDAS Appoints Alexey Ershov as New CEO  

Alexander Narin’ani (1937-2010) is a Soviet and Russian researcher known by fundamentally original works in parallel programming, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, constraint programming, and other. I have been closely working with him for more than 20 years. Some veterans of LEDAS came from the academic lab headed by A. Narin’ani. I hope to write much more about this very interesting person.


Francis BERNARD, Dassault Systemes, CATIA, Paris, La Terrasse, 6 October

This is not my first mention of my luck: to have a privilege to meet quite regularly with Francis. Obviously, the man who founded DS, was its first CEO, invented CATIA, so energetically  promoted PLM, and much more, can give a lot of wise recommendations on how to develop one's business related to engineering software. And he can tell you many interesting things not only about CAD.     

Recently I met Francis again. But this post is not about our discussion. I just really like this photo made in a  very Parisian location in Paris: Place de l'École Militaire, Invalides - Tour Eiffel... Francis BERNARD lives close to this place and looks here very natural (click to enlarge):
Yes, it's not about our discussion. But I should mention that Francis is very active: he is a member of the Board in 4 or 5 companies, including very famous ESI-Group. I appreciate very much his flexibility and independence in thinking which is absolutely without any of the veterans' reflexive skepticism about today's events and market trends. And most of all I like the attitude of Francis to what he dislikes: he is very definitive and unequivocal but never angry and always without any smallest signs of hatred. In particular, it's because Francis is completely confident in his personal history and does not need its retrospective optimization:)...

PS. A year ago, isicad.net published a big article by Francis The DASSAULT SYSTEMES Success Story (in English) whose Russian translation attracted a lot of attention by calm content-richness contrasted with today's style of boasting and primitive humiliation of competitors. Recently, one of the Russian readers put a comment (in my unpolished translation): "I read in one sitting! Milestones seem to me fantastic, especially with reference to the years! Just imagine: 1967-77 years, CNC machines, "the full range of applications in the field of 3D CAD / CAM" - for many businesses is now sky-high heights ... In my understanding, Francis Bernard and his team made a technological revolution! They changed the world! Bravo! Long life and good health, Francis!"


LEDAS enhances its key business in service after selling its technologies to Bricsys

Here is some part of my motivations for selling LEDAS technologies.  
Here is a link to the official press-release of today.
Here you can see how Erik de Keyser and I signed the Agreement:
Yesterday night, Erik and I were explaining to Deelip Menezes and Ralph Grabowski some details and mutual advantages. This obviously means that soon you will likely read some weighty opinions from the bloggers:
Well, in the long run, it’s me who sold some part of my property. Therefore, you should (or must?) take my opinion into account.  Here it is.

I have sold something which was not profitable for me in direct sales however has been approved as a very valuable and efficient when applied in a proper context, by appropriate brains and hands. Therefore I’ve got adequate money while the buyer got adequate tools for faster development of his business. This means that the deal is fair and mutually beneficial.

Moreover, the Agreement is specified so that I will get a good part of the revenue to be generated by Bricsys by application of the technologies acquired from LEDAS. Therefore I am very interested  in success of this application. To decrease risk of this project, we agreed that a small team of LEDAS developers will be transferred from LEDAS to a Russian department of Bricsys soon to appear. This team will be headed by Dmitry Ushakov who is a real father of the technologies and products in question: he is the best person to efficiently apply, and when necessary, improve/adjust/update/… his technological inventions. Dmitry will quit his current position of LEDAS CEO but remains one of the key members of the LEDAS Board, leading LEDAS expert, consultant, and guru, the editor of www.isicad.ru (and www.isicad.net), and other. Dmitry will definitely continue to efficiently contribute to the business development of LEDAS.

Another important aspect of the deal with Bricsys is that LEDAS continues maintenance of the sold products and becomes their privileged distributor. In particular, no current licensee of LGSs and other components and products will be damaged.

You will inevitably ask me: is it in total something negative that during couple months LEDAS  terminated a 12-year cooperation with Dassault Systemes and sold its unique technologies? My answer is simple: if you consider not emotions, prejudices of LEDAS academic background, and inertia but instead will judge by business and growth criteria, all this is definitely positive. Today LEDAS has higher level of revenue than one year ago with DS and with the technologies. We have now much more transparent, natural, and balanced structure of the business as well as good potential for further business extension in providing highest quality service in software development (SD). Maybe “potential and future” sounds not very convincing but if you need to perform an outsourcing SD project with a unique combination of quality, reliability, and price – address LEDAS right now.  

Well, I have some more formal and informal comments on the LEDAS history, love story with DS, why Bricsys, more events from recently, and plans: Deelip Menezes kindly invited me to describe this in a guest post for his blog. I will do my best to implement this honorable invitation. 


Around Bricsys 2011 conference. Oct 4, morning

Arnold van der Weide, President of Open Design Alliance, Ralph Grabowski, The Blogger and CAD Guru, David Levin, LEDAS, Randall Newton, GraphicSpeak:

Deelip Menezes (The Blogger, CAD Guru, and capitalist) arrived:

Today, Brussels is excited by two key topics (Left - Bricsys conference, right - Sex and City ):

For more information, see #bricsys2011 on Twitter.


Providing geometric solvers (be it Siemens PLM or LEDAS) is cool but became not so profitable

23 years after D-Cubed has released the first ever commercial geometric constraint solver (2D DCM), its current owner Siemens PLM Software published, practically for the first time, more or less full statistics on this part of its business (see a link below).

D-Cubed is a company founded by an outstanding mathematician John Owen. It seems natural that this happened  in Cambridge - one of the recognized world centers of math foundations for CAD: note that ACIS and Parasolid have their roots also at Cambridge, and D-Cubed was initially somewhat invested by Spatial. In 2004 D-Cubed was acquired by UGS, and in 2007 – already as a part of UGS – sank into the great arms of Siemens PLM.

A key point of the above mentioned statistics is 200 - a total number of licenses sold since 1988. It includes five different and important technological components: 2D DCM, 3D DCM, PGM, and other. 99 from that 200 are the 2D DCM solvers.

LGS 2D and 3D from LEDAS appeared in the market in 2004, fifteen years after DCM. In total, during 7 years, LEDAS sold 30 licenses of its LGS. My main conclusion is that independently on any classification approach, such comparison of LGS with a child of John Owen and with a great Siemens is honorable for LEDAS:)

Some of those who sell or resell products by millions copies would probably be laughing at 30 and 200. Yes, you may laugh but note that these 200 and 30 are the programs that to be designed and developed need extreme math qualification, hundreds of man-years to make them industrial, and they are sold not to end-users but mainly to sufficiently serious CAD/CAE/CAM vendors… BTW, the post with D-Cubed statistics mentions very many (millions) user seats for their 200 copies, it’s not clear how many of them are actually survived but historically it’s doubtless impressive: it’s enough to note that until recently these millions included millions of SolidWorks seats. Well anyway, I want to quote a nice sentence from the post about the milestone statistics of D-Cubed “Not bad for a range of products that many end-users will never have heard of”.     
One may reasonably ask: in the long run, income is much more important indicator than number of licenses. Maybe. And in some cases – definitely yes. I have no right to open some numbers but try to imagine how much Dassault Systemes, fifteen years ago, was paying to D-Cubed and then to UGS… Here is the key point: compared with 90th when (1) D-Cubed was a monopolist and (2) big customers-vendors had no their own components such as geometric solvers,  today this has drastically changed, in the first place – in prices. Without opening some confidential data, I can just say that LEDAS has substantially contributed to this changes – both in (1) and (2). (Who knows, if around 2002, D-Cubed and LEDAS combined their efforts, they both could earn more:).       

What is my conclusion? Those who are able to develop an industrial technologic component of a DCM/LGS type are very probably smart guys. And yes, a vendor of such components justly gets some good additional points to the market rating of its company. Also, if such a vendor itself intensively applies its own technological components in its own mass products, this may become an important competitive advantage. My opinion is that distribution of such components today can hardly be a proportionally serious part of a successful business. However, in the long run, much depends on the sales skills.

On the other hand, those who succeeded in development of advanced components can likely be efficient providers of program development services – be they related to the maintenance for such components or to the development of whatever advanced programs in engineering software or beyond. But this is another story…  

Thanks to Ralph Grabowski, you can take a look at two much explaining publication:
And of course look at “Major Milestones for the D-Cubed Components” which deservedly celebrates the above-mentioned 200-milestone and actually motivated me for this blog post. My respect and congratulations to D-Cubed!