Specializing in design optimization technology, Engineous offers manufacturers a software framework for integrating, automating and optimizing the design process for products in the aerospace, electronics, and automotive and other industries.
Imagine it's your mission to make it into the America's Cup final round, but first you must optimize your yacht's keel design for maximum speed. Or say you've suddenly been tasked with having to find the most effective electricity-producing control rod patterns for a plant's nuclear reactors. Or maybe your goal is to improve the halogen light bulb--to make it dramatically more efficient.
Whichever of these tasks might be yours--your next step is critical, warns Dr. Siu Tong, founder and Chairman of Engineous Software, Inc. He contends that the key to any successful product design is all in the process--specifically, in accelerating the design improvement process.
"In today's large scale product design efforts, everything is done at the computer by many different engineers, using many different software packages to work on many different aspects of the design," says Tong. "This leaves a lot of room for trial and error in business decisions." The trick, says Tong, is to reduce human trial and error. To do so, manufacturers can use a new software framework for integrating, automating and optimizing the design process. "This framework can be used for everything from designing cars and boats and aircraft engines--down to small things, like light bulbs," says Tong.
It is this software framework that Tong has built a career and a business on--called Engineous.
Software that integrates, automates and optimizes the design process
Engineous officially opened its doors in 1996 after General Electric Co. (GE) gave Tong its blessing to market the design optimization technology he had spent more than 15 years developing in his own MIT Ph.D. thesis and in house at GE. Engineous's software, called iSight, automates the entire design process, says Tong. "You can tie all your design software packages together, then drive the software process, changing the data automatically according to the predefined or adaptive strategies you set. All this leads to much quicker, much better product design results."
Consider building a better boat, which Louis Vuitton Cup Winner, Team Prada of Italy, did in 2000, using Engineous' iSight software. According to Tong, to maximize the yacht's speed, drag had to be minimized. To accomplish this, the wetted surface of the keel had to be minimized, which, on the downside, could also decrease the boat's stability. "So the challenge was to find the optimal keel wetted surface area, without jeopardizing stability," says Tong. With Engineous' iSight software, Team Prada's design group automated the design process, which allowed them to examine 20 - 50 designs per day. "This optimization strategy gave them the chance to explore thousands of potential designs--and arrive at the best one, quickly--and at reduced development costs," says Tong.
Intel 64 Fund Invests in Engineous
In the spring of 2000, Tong says that Engineous made contact with the Intel Capital team through an employee who had prior connections with Intel Capital. "The Intel Capital team visited us and we also spoke with some people in Intel's Solutions Enabling Group, who thought our technology could have a positive impact on the future of product design," says Tong. "In addition, our software drives the demand for computer power. For instance, in engineering product design, you can look at 100 times as many design possibilities as ever before. All this obviously takes a lot more computer power--though no more human power."
After the two teams met, it was clear that Engineous was a promising candidate for an investment from the Intel 64 Fund--a quarter billion dollar equity investment fund that invests in technology companies developing innovative enterprise solutions for Itanium�-based servers and workstations. In particular, Engineous' software would get a huge performance boost, given the significant gain in processing speed and capabilities the Itanium chip could offer.
The Intel 64 Fund investment team also saw that the Engineous team was developing a new optimization technology that had the potential to streamline the manufacturing development process by automating and optimizing the product design process. Following a due diligence investigation, Engineous received an investment from the Intel 64 Fund in May 2000.
A Rewarding Relationship
Today, a wide range of Fortune 1000 manufacturers are using Engineous' software in the aerospace, automotive, electronics, power transmission, and industrial equipment industries--including such companies as DaimlerChrysler, General Electric, Ford Motor Company, United Technologies, NASA, and Rolls-Royce, says Dr. Dennis Nagy, CEO of Engineous.
According to Nagy, one of the key benefits the Intel 64 Fund investment is giving Engineous is the technical assistance to port its iSight software to the Itanium architecture. "We've received all the resources we need to do the Itanium port, and did the initial port to show our software running on the Itanium processor in time for our Engineous' User's Conference in October 2000."
Nagy also claims that the networking opportunities that the Intel 64 Fund investment have brought Engineous have been invaluable. "We've had the opportunity to network with many other early stage companies that are also in market segments where they're going to be driving a lot of demand for computing cycles. For this reason, there is a basis there for synergy and future cooperation with these companies, who we meet at various events that the Intel 64 Fund sponsors on a regular basis." Nagy adds that the Intel 64 Fund team has also given visibility to Engineous' efforts in their port to the Itanium architecture, where a key Intel executive gave a keynote speech at Engineous' Users Conference.
Dr. Siu Tong says that the Intel 64 Fund team also offers his team fresh new thinking on Engineous' business strategies--including new marketing and sales strategies. Yet the relationship, he adds, is a two-way street. "The Intel 64 Fund team also gets some fresh ideas from Engineous. They're seeing how we are approaching large-scale product design with our compute-intensive software solutions--which can only help drive the demand overall for higher-end processors."
" One of the strongest benefits we've realized from the Intel 64 Fund investment is the networking we've been able to do within Intel and outside Intel, since the Intel 64 Fund has invested in a number of other companies. This interaction has given us a keener insight into our own technology and marketing strategies. I think Intel Capital's ability to create such a synergy within its portfolio companies is great. It's something I haven't seen in any other investment I've been associated with."
Dr. Siu Tong
Engineous Software, Inc.
AT A GLANCE...
Engineous Software, Inc.
Dr. Siu Tong
INTEL 64 FUND INVESTED:
For more information, contact Engineous Software, Inc., .
Last updated: February 2001
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