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SIMCenter Announces Expansion and Research Diversification at External Advisory Board Meeting

External advisory board members from Caterpillar, Whirlpool, Mathworks, Honda R&D Americas and other companies were briefed on recent SIMCenter developments.External advisory board members were briefed on recent SIMCenter developments.

SIMCenter announced new business ventures and plans to expand its office space at its biannual external advisory board meeting on Sept. 27.

With its close ties to Honda R&D Americas, SIMCenter has historically conducted research in the automotive industry. However, to diversify its portfolio, SIMCenter recently began research projects in other areas including healthcare, industrial packaging and household appliances.

SIMCenter also added a new research focus area: non-physics, data-driven models. These data-driven models, which researchers use to analyze the data in a specific system rather than the physical behavior, can be applied to various topics such as materials testing and autonomous vehicle technologies. SIMCenter also plans to incorporate virtual reality into its research.

To account for this rapid growth and diversification, Associate Director Heather Sever announced that SIMCenter received approval for eight new rooms on the third floor of Smith Lab to accommodate more researchers and students. The renovations will begin in a few weeks, and the new space will be used in conjunction with the existing space on the second floor.

“We’ve been working to secure this space for quite some time now,” Sever said. “It’s a substantial increase that we’ve desperately needed because we’re growing.”

In addition to the new office space, SIMCenter will modify its information technology structure for the increasing quantity of research projects. Researchers require large storage solutions for complex simulations and models.

Emily Nutwell discusses SIMCenter education solutionsEmily Nutwell presents SIMCenter's education solutions.Regarding education, Emily Nutwell, SIMCenter’s professional development manager, promoted her new courses for students and working engineers. SIMCenter offers a capstone course for undergraduates, and other undergraduates who are interested in simulation and modeling are encouraged to join SIMClub. Online courses are available for working engineers who want to learn more about modeling and simulation for their careers, but have limited time to do so.

For its internship program, SIMCenter established partnerships with Honda R&D Americas, John Deere and Dassault. This program allows undergraduate students to earn real-world experience while working in SIMCenter’s offices and facilities.

The external advisory board, which consists of existing and new members from a variety of industry partners including NAFEMS, Whirlpool, Greif and Mathworks, also provided constructive feedback regarding SIMCenter’s operations.

Valerie Wiest, division manager at Caterpillarspeaks at SIMCenter's September 2018 EAB meeting.External advisory board member Valerie Wiest from Caterpillar provided valuable feedback and insight regarding SIMCenter's operations.Valerie Wiest, the division manager at Caterpillar, said that the online education solutions offered by SIMCenter are helpful for busy employees.

“Caterpillar has a lot of interest in education,” Wiest said. “Engineers at Caterpillar who aren’t necessarily full-time or specialize in simulations are interested in quick, in-and-out education solutions.”

Tara Hemami, the director of system performance analysis at Cummins, said that SIMCenter should consider battery research and development because advanced simulation capabilities are necessary to create better designs, enhancing longevity and reliability.

Hemami showed excitement for SIMCenter’s new virtual-physical simulation consortium. She said that companies are interested in these programs because “each company gets a lot for a little,” especially when the consortium has a narrow focus.

Finally, The Ohio State University’s memorandum of understanding with Honda ends in 2019, although the close relationship between the automaker and the university will continue. This also opens the door for new partnerships in the future.

To view a complete list of external advisory board members and their companies, visit

By Jake Berg, SIMCenter marketing and communications student assistant