Physics Simulation Made Easy
After two decades of developing both academic and commercial FEA and CAE simulation codes, Precise Simulation Ltd. was established by J.S. Hysing in 2013 as a reaction to the real disconnect between simulation software and its users. That is, the frustration of having to choose between very complex and expensive closed source commercial software tools, or state-of-the-art but often even more difficult to use (and even to get to compile and run) academic and open source codes, with virtually nothing in between.
The basic idea of FEATool Multiphysics and Precise Simulation is then to provide truly easy simulation software that everyone can use right away, with ultimate vision to not require users to consult any documentation at all, at least not for performing basic physics simulations.In particular, FEATool naturally integrates with the open source solvers FEniCS and OpenFOAM, external mesh generators such as Gmsh and Triangle, and the postprocessing and visualization tools ParaView and plotly, providing fully integrated GUI and scripting interfaces with MATLAB.This enables anyone to use these solvers and simulation tools without much effort, which otherwise would take a significant time to understand and learn how to use.
MATLAB, perhaps rightfully, has a reputation for being a slow and rather inefficient programming language and development environment. However, simulation benchmarks show, that with modern JIT-optimization and a little vectorization effort even complex operations such as finite element matrix assembly can be made virtually just as fast as classic Fortran or C. Moreover, for a bootstrapped and very resource constrained enterprise, MATLAB and its REPL offers both very fast development time, and comes with good built-in solver, plotting, visualization, and GUI toolkits which otherwise would have to be developed or licensed separately. Although developing a high-performance core in C and/or Fortran would be preferable, MATLAB is for now quite sufficient for up to moderate size problem scales.
Open Source Simulation?
Ideally simulation toolkits, such as FEATool, would be open source so that anyone can easily use, modify, and extend it to their own needs. FEATool was designed as such, and therefore initially also distributed under an open license for personal use. Unfortunately, as Precise Simulation is entirely self financed and does not receive any research, government, or vc funding whatsoever, to say that this was financially unsustainable is an understatement. And as simple as a software like FEATool might seem to be, it literally represents years of dedicated work, not counting the prior experience required to pull it all together in a sensible way.
Hopefully, open sourcing FEATool can one day make at least some financial sense, in the meantime a more than fair compromise is that most of the functionality is completely free to download and try, with a open and documented API that anyone can interface with through the MATLAB scripting language.
For the FutureThere are many interesting and exciting ideas and directions for us to take regarding making future physics simulation tools both easier and better. Long term plans for FEATool Multiphysics is to make it even more frictionless for new users to start modeling by developing a cross-platform web browser based simulation interface and GUI, as well as making MATLAB optional by transpiling and converting the code base to a combination of Python, Julia, and/or WebAssembly. In addition, more open and user friendly APIs and better multi-simulation solver interfaces are planned for with open source codes such as CalculiX, Code Aster, Deal II, Dune, FEMM, and NEK5000.
Precise Simulation is passionate about physics based computer simulation and continually strives to make it easier and more enjoyable work with for both engineers in industry and researchers and teachers in academia, as well as simpler and more convenient to learn for students in engineering, physics, and mathematics.
Precise Simulation is therefore open to all types of mutually beneficial collaboration projects in order to make physics simulation easier and more accessible to everyone. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any inquires about FEATool Multiphysics, would like to interface you code with FEATool, have a custom simulation GUI, or in is need of custom modeling or consulting for your modeling and simulation project.
Precise Simulation Ltd.