Archive for October, 2017

COFES 2018 Fall Update

Posted on October 31st, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

You might want to take a look at the COFES Update below, which includes news on:

  • Dates for ASSESS 2017: November 2017, near DC
  • Theme for COFES 2018: Human-Aided Design: Changing the Relationship between Our Tools and Us
  • Call for CAD Society Nominations
  • Call for Roundtable Topics
  • COFES 2017 Audio and Videos now online

COFES Late Registration Begins January 1st

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to register in the next two months!

Save $400 by registering by Sunday, December 31st!

If you are interested in registering for COFES 2018, then please email me at

I hope you will be able to join us in Arizona next April.


Vincent Caprio
COFES Institute

ASSESS 2017 to be held November 2017

After the success of the inaugural summit, and first formal congress ASSESS 2016, Joe Walsh and Brad Holtz are collaborating once again to host the second annual Analysis, Simulation, and Systems Engineering Software Strategies (ASSESS) congress, November 1-3, 2017  in Potomac, MD.

This congress continues where the first congress left off: bringing together the key participants to further review the current status, issues, goals and actionable items of the ASSESS Initiative, but with a deeper and broader pool of the leadership from the community of domain experts, industry analysts, software providers, researchers, and others in the community of model-based analysis, simulation and systems engineering. The role of the ASSESS 2017 congress is to continue to guide and influence software development and strategies to the capture of value of, and to enable, expanding the use and practical scope of software for model-based analysis, simulation and systems engineering.

Those participating in ASSESS 2017 will once again help shape the industry and product strategies for the next decade.

The conversation continued at the ASSESS congress will be expanded upon at COFES 2018. More information about our findings, and plans for ASSESS at COFES, will be decided at the conclusion of the congress. Check the COFES agenda in the coming months for more information.

A list of those already registered for ASSESS may be found at

If you did not receive an invitation but would like to attend, please just drop us note, or give us a call at +1-706-839-1562

Questions, comments or input to add? Email us at:


COFES 2018 Theme: Human-Aided Design: Changing the Relationship between Our Tools and Us

COFES is that place on the calendar that we set aside to lift our heads from the daily grind and consider our work in a broader context. This year at COFES 2018, we will explore human-aided design and have an in depth look at the changing relationship between our tools and us. The advent of digital personal computers and the development of software profoundly transformed the way products were designed. The advent of computer-aided design gave engineers an array of powerful new tools. As the Internet evolved, CAD migrated into the cloud. Today, powerful design tools are available globally and have become an integral part of the engineering landscape.

Today, we stand at the dawn of a new era of design – what we refer to as human-aided design. Advances in computer hardware and software are profoundly altering the way in which we interact with technology. Humans are now merging with computers in a way that has never existed previously. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality are radically reshaping the design landscape. Innovations in 3D printing technology and advances in additive manufacturing processes represent a convergence of atoms and bits that promise to usher in the next industrial revolution.

At COFES 2018, we will examine the emergence of human-aided design and discuss the convergence of atoms and bits and the impact it promises to have on the way products are designed and engineered. We hope you can join us for what promises to be an exhilarating event.


The CAD Society is accepting award nominations

The CAD Society is accepting nominations for the 2018 CAD Society Industry Awards.

The CAD Society Awards acknowledge the contributions made by individuals that have affected and developed the CAD, engineering, manufacturing and architecture software industries. The awards are presented each year at the COFES Saturday night reception.

The CAD Society presents awards in three categories:

Joe Greco Community Award: For outstanding work in improving communication and developing community within the CAD industry. Steve Robbins was the 2017 Community award recipients. Other past award recipients include: David Cohn, Bob Deragisch, Jon Jarrett, Al Dean, Marie Planchard, Jeff Mottle, Evan Yares, Sean Dotson, Chris Yessios, Lynn Allen, Randall Rath, CJ Shirk, Kristine Fallon, and Ralph Grabowski.

Leadership Award: For outstanding technical and business leadership in the CAD industry, and focus and dedication to the needs of CAD users. Chuck Grindstaff was the 2017 Leadership award recipient. Other past award recipients include: Peter Schroer, Jim Heppelmann, Hardy Meybaum, Wilfried Gräbert, Oleg Shilovitsky, Dieter Neujahr, Carl Bass, Jay Sunyogh, Dana K. “Deke” Smith, Robert McNeel, Tony Affuso, Tom Butta, Jon Hirschtick, and Bernard Charles.

Lifetime Award: For a lifetime of outstanding technical and business contributions to the CAD industry. Chuck Hull was the 2017 Lifetime award recipient. Other past award recipients include: John McEleney, Jon Peddie, Ivan Sutherland David Levin, Ken & BJ Anderson, Dave Weisberg, Richard Riff, Mike Riddle, Dean Kamen, Russell F. Henke, Ken Versprille, L. Stephen Wolfe, Carl Machover, Dr. Joel Orr, and Patrick Hanratty.

Nominations must identify the award category and candidate. It would help to also share your thoughts on why the nominee deserves to be honored. Email nominations can be sent to:

Nomination deadline is February 1, 2018.


Call for Roundtable Topics

Roundtable discussions are a key element to COFES. We don’t announce the topics until about two weeks before the event. That gives us time to consider the topics that are relevant at the time of COFES (rather than guessing a year in advance).

Have a topic you think is relevant? A pressing issue that could impact software for design and engineering? We’re actively seeking ideas for roundtable topics for COFES 2018.  Please contact


COFES 2017 Audio and Videos Online

In case you haven’t heard, we’ve posted the videos from the COFES 2017 keynotes and special presentations on the COFES website. Check out  These, as well as the audio below, are free to all.

We’ve also made it possible for anyone to listen to the audio recordings from Tech Suite Briefings, Analyst Briefings, and Roundtable discussions. Check them out!


NanoBCA Recommends NNI Workshop 11/1 Washington DC

Posted on October 31st, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

The NanoBusiness Commercialization Association (NanoBCA) would like to recommend the following:




Technology Development Pathways Workshop: Case Studies from the National Nanotechnology Initiative
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
470 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Suite 8001
Washington DC 20024 

Registration: This workshop is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here to register now.

What:  The Technology Development Pathways workshop will showcase NNI success stories where nanotechnology has had commercial impact. Keynote presentations will highlight the pathways companies have taken to get from research to commercialization. Afternoon panel discussions will focus on specific steps of the development pathway, such as scale up and quality control/measurement systems. Conversations at the workshop will enable companies to share best practices for overcoming technical challenges during the commercialization of nanotechnologies. This event will support the goals of the Sustainable Manufacturing: Creating Industries of the Future Nanotechnology Signature Initiative and help identify remaining research challenges in nanomanufacturing. Workshop discussions will inform future directions for the initiative, including potential activities that can be leveraged by later-stage investments from the private sector.

How: The goal of this workshop is to provide case studies and facilitate the exchange of technical information among private sector participants. Federal Government representatives will also participate, enabling attendees to learn of ongoing research activities, agency needs, and funding opportunities.

Click here to view AGENDA

Twitter: #techpathways
Direct link:


Singh Center for Nanotechnology Seminar Series
Friday, November 3, 2017
Glandt Forum (3rd floor), 3205 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19104
For additional information please contact:

The Unveiling of the Second Generation Nanoscale Offset Printing System (NanoOPS Gen 2)
2017 Nano and Microscale Printing of Sensors and Electronics Workshop
Dec 13 – 14, 2017
9:00am – 5:00pm EST
George J. Kostas Research Institute, 141 S Bedford St, Burlington MA 01803

MFG Day – Follow-up
MFG Day was Friday, October 6, 2017
Tell us about your MFG Day Experience
Share your story


We welcome you to join our roster of Corporate Members.  For further information, please contact Vincent Caprio or 203-733-1949 to discuss.


We encourage individuals interested in continuing our efforts to provide information in regard to emerging technologies to become Individual Members of the NanoBCA.  Individual Membership includes participation on our monthly conference call. Our next call is on Thursday, October 26th at 2PM ET.  Click here to become a NanoBCA Individual Member.  The annual Individual Membership fee is $150.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Technology Development Pathways Workshop on November 1st in DC.

COFES Institute Interview with Brad Holtz

Posted on October 16th, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Today we are proud to announce our inaugural COFES Institute newsletter.  We will be interviewing visionaries and thought leaders from our community.  Our first interview is with Brad Holtz, co-founder of COFES.

Brad Holtz
Since 1999, as co-founder and CEO of Cyon Research Corp., Brad built and led a team of industry analysts focused on the field of software for design and engineering. In that role, he also led the creation of COFES: Congress on the Future of Engineering Software.


COFES Institute Interview with Brad Holtz
September 2017

SW: Hello Brad! We are delighted you could spend some time with us today. There’s quite a bit to discuss so let’s jump right into it. First off, I wanted to get your thoughts on the transition to human-assisted design, which is the theme of COFES 2018. Can you give us a little context of how we got to where we today?

BH: Sure. We have seen an evolution in CAD that has progressed from mainframes in the 1960’s, to mini computers in the ‘70s, to workstations in the ‘80s, and on to microcomputers/PCs from the 90’s on. Our CAD software tools have evolved along with the hardware, eventually leading us to generative design tools and the advent of Human-Aided Design, which is what we are on the verge of today. With Generative design, an architect or engineer can quickly evaluate hundreds of automatically generated design alternatives. These alternatives can be tested and tweaked to kick off a next round of iterations. Designers learn from each iteration what works and what does not. The generative design process also enables designers to create options that would not have been otherwise possible, coming much closer to an optimal design. Generative design is one of the first steps of human-aided design. In the big picture, human-aided design is changing the relationship between who is doing the creation, where the creation is happening, and where the judgment is happening.

SW: Interesting. What is the next part of the evolution in generative design?

BH: The next part is when we start adding cognitive analysis and related tools to our CAD systems. This part involves engineers talking with and interacting with their computers to achieve a desired design.  The computer is doing the designing, led through human interaction, as opposed to the other way around. It is a 180-degree shift.

SW:  They did this kind of design engineering on an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

BH:  Yes, this type of engineering was the domain of science fiction, but no longer. We are now at the stage where we can actually do it. We’ve seen huge leaps in processing and storage technology over the past couple of decades.

SW: Yes, we certainly have! So we are in an age of generative design and making a transition to human-aided design that once was the domain of science fiction.

BH: That’s right. We have most of the tools today necessary to accomplish what I’m talking about. But they’re not coordinated or all in the same place yet. Software developers need to understand what it is they should deliver and how they want to deliver it, and then take these technologies and then figure out where they want to apply them. For example, where do we want to apply machine learning? That’s really the key. We have all the tools in the toolbox we need.  That, of course, doesn’t mean that we can do it yet. We have to go out and start down the road of not so much automating, but adding cognitive technologies and intuition and interpretation into our systems. The vendors in this industry have the ability to do this now. The software exists to do it.

SW: I see. What role do you envision COFES playing in this evolution toward human-aided design?

BH: When my colleagues and I founded COFES in fall of 1999 we first did a formal summit at the Palmer House in Chicago with sixty-four people. It was very well received. That gave us basically the green light to go ahead with COFES, which is the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software.  When we did the summit, the purpose of the summit was to follow the ideas from the great summits in chemistry and physics at the turn of the previous century because we were at the turn of this century. We said, “Ok, let’s get the leaders of this industry together and talk about what are the big issues of the day.” And that’s what we did. And that evolved into a congress discussion talking about these big issues. The guiding principals of COFES from my standpoint have always been to foster collaboration and communication with the intent of pushing the industry as a whole to serve its customers better, faster.

SW: A very commendable endeavor, indeed. Bravo!

BH: Thanks. When we launched COFES we wanted to make an impact. It was never about the money. Look at the things that came out of COFES. There’s the 3D PDF Consortium. Magic Leap was conceived at COFES. Intel’s Larabee architecture, came from chat between Jon Peddie and Omid Moghadam at COFES back in 2003. And there have been a large number of acquisitions that have taken place because of introductions that have happened at COFES. There have been a lot of long-term relationships formed at COFES. There have been companies that have been funded as a result of being at COFES. COFES has been fostering a long look at the future. COFES is that time in the calendar when you can pick your head up out of your day-to-day rut and take a longer term view. That’s what COFES has been about.

SW: That’s wonderful, Brad. How do you see COFES evolving going forward?

BH: Cyon Research donated COFES to the newly formed non-profit, COFES Institute this year, with the goal to take COFES to the next level. I’ve taken COFES about as far as I can take it, personally. I felt it was time to move it forward for the next generation, with new ideas and new blood, putting COFES on a firm foundation where it can grow for the long term. And I’m not walking away from COFES. I’ll still be there, still supporting it behind the scenes and still guiding it. But I won’t be driving it. With the COFES Institute taking control of the event, I’ve offloaded most the enormous amount of time I’ve been required to commit to the event. I will still be at COFES as moderator. I will still be engaged in providing advice behind-the-scenes and coaching the new team as they move forward. But, I’m not the one who will be driving it. I will be very engaged, but it will be other people pushing it forward and a next generation driving the vision for future generations. That’s really what the event needs to go on for the next eighteen years.

SW: Well it is terrific to know that you will be involved in COFES going forward. We spoke at the end of last year about your vision of COFES going forward. You wanted to build out the community through a membership organization.

BH: Yes. Community building is important to how I see COFES evolving in the future. We’ve invested six-figures in producing video and audio from COFES to make available to the general public. There are literally hundreds of hours of video and audio that are up on the website. Cyon Research hasn’t had the focus or resources to publicize that. It’s been free for everybody for a long time. One of the things the COFES Institute will be able to do is push these assets to the broader community –to let people know that the content is out there. They can also spend the time to index it so that it can achieve greater reach and they can work with the COFES community to add richness and provide ongoing value through evolving into a membership organization that continue with the goals of COFES.

It seems to me that a membership organization is the right direction to go in. It doesn’t need to be painful to be a member in terms of costs, but there should be some significant value to being part of this community.  We also want to bring other voices in here, particularly voices of future superstars from the next generations. The COFES Institute will continue our efforts of proactively identifying who are the likely leaders of the next generation – trying to spotlight them, bring them to the event, and have their voices heard earlier, and also to get them connected with people who can accelerate their career.

SW: Very good, Brad. Let’s talk about the next generation. What are some of the things they are doing that get you excited?

BH: You’d be hard pressed to find anyone under 50 who started in the era of drafting boards. When I started college, we still used slide rules – calculators didn’t come until later. The generation after me had calculators. The generation after that had computers. And the generation after that had iPhones. The current generation has more computational power in their pocket than the most powerful computers in the world from the time I was in school.

SW: When I think about the next generation, I think of VR, AR, AI, Machine Learning, Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. How do you see these fitting in with COFES going forward?

BH: Well, all of these technologies have been part of the conversations at COFES for a very long time. They haven’t been center stage at COFES, but they are evolving from the sidelines toward the center stage. In 2002, we had Eric Drexler talking about nanotechnology. In 2004 we had John Koza talking about genetic programming. Six years ago we had a talk about storing data reliably for eons, encoding the data in gut bacteria DNA. The whole idea here is not to get people to change, but to get the industry’s leaders -the people who create the tools for the people who create the world – to start thinking about these things years in advance.  What we are trying do to is to influence the context of the conversation.

SW: That’s refreshing to hear. Let’s wrap this interview up by returning to theme of COFES 2018 and the transition from human-centric to human-assisted design. What role do you see the emerging technologies associated with the current generation playing? 

BH: The transition underway is from humans doing everything and being helped by a computer, to human-assisted, where the computer is our right hand, so to speak, and can do things and generate ideas for us where we are making decisions based on information that is presented to us based on queries.

SW: That’s a huge leap. Please continue.

BH: Yes. It is a major leap, and we are just at the very beginning of what will be a very long path. And so what we are trying to do now is to have this conversation up front about where we want to go so that the people who are helping us get to where we want to go can start thinking about it in ways that are constructive. We are in that exploration stage.

Now, any time we go through these major transitions there is huge difference between what is possible, what is practical, and what is pervasive. We are dangling with what is possible at COFES. Some people at the leading edge are using portions of this in a way that is practical; particularly if we are talking about specific, isolated things like external facades on a building or the structure for a chair or a crash structure, if you will. In the beginning we were using computer-aided drafting to do building perimeters and cores. This took a dozen or two years before it was pervasive. Think about it as a generation.

With respect to the major trends, there is VR and AR; there is Machine Learning and New Manufacturing, which includes Additive and Multi-mode manufacturing. Multi-mode is additive and subtractive together.  VR is allowing us to explore a concept in the computer separated from the real world. Augmented reality, or what some people refer to as mixed reality, is an overlay of information on top of the real world. Those are two very different things. I think of VR is going to make a change in the way we think about things. AR is going to change the way we do things and interact with them. Machine learning and cognitive systems are tools that replace our cognitive load and allow us to focus on other things and enable us to do things that would not have been possible before. New Manufacturing allows us to create things that could not have been done before; it allows us to create things where they could not have been created before.  It allows us to change the iterative loop between how things are created and when and where they are created and allows us to directly go from the computer to a physical object that I can hold in my hand, as opposed to VR which allows me to create a physical object I can see and with haptics I think I can touch.

SW: Good stuff, Brad! We’re looking forward to discussing these things further at COFES 2018. For our last interview question, what are the two or three most important things you have learned or experienced since you have been part of the COFES community?

BH: (long pause…) There are so many ideas that we have brought to COFES. One of the most important things I’ve learned is the value of communicating with your competitors, or put another way, the value of a beer with a competitor at the pool.  There aren’t many places where you can go and sit around the pool with a beer with the people you are competing against in the marketplace the rest of the year. At COFES there is the ability to talk about things that are so far in the future that they aren’t in the competitive landscape. They can make a difference for everyone.  The other thing is the value of identifying the areas that are not competitive advantage. That’s one of the things we’ve done and focused on at COFES. That is, how do we get the community to do things as a community when there is no competitive advantage and a significant cost for each of the members of the community to do it on their own? We know that companies within industries are all about getting a competitive advantage and building customer relationships, but not everything is competitive advantage. Some things just need to exist. The 3D PDF Consortium is one of those ideas that came as a result of this.

Let me just add this: I’d like anyone reading this to pay attention to and be on the lookout for the people who are going to be making a name for themselves – our future superstars. Tell us about them. Let work together on getting them to COFES and let’s get their careers accelerated. I’ll be working behind the scenes with the COFES Institute to help recruit the next generation of leaders in our industry.

SW: Cheers to that, Brad! We thank you for your time today. It has been a pleasure, as always, speaking with you. We look forward to seeing you at COFES 2018.

BH: You are welcome. I’m looking forward to the event.

Steve Waite is a member of the COFES Institute Advisory Board. He is the author of several books, including Quantum Investing and Venture Investing in Science.


I hope you enjoyed our first newsletter.  I would like to thank Brad and Steve for their participation in the interview.