We've always had an opening general session at Autodesk University (AU) that featured the keynote presentation. We've almost always had a party. This year was the first time we had a closing general session prior to the party. I think it was a smashing success. I hope we continue to make it a part of future AUs. Should we? let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is basically what was covered.
Amar Hanspal, Senior VP of Information Modeling & Platform Products Group
Good afternoon and welcome to the Autodesk University closing session! And what an AU it's been — over 9,400 attendees — a new record — from 74 countries, attending over 700 classes and labs. As we looked at your overall experience at AU and at these statistics, we realized what was really missing was one last deep, meaningful, nerdy technical presentation:
So I'm going to spend the next hour walking you through about 130 slides on the topic of algorithms for quantum-based, CAD-directed CMM Dimensional Spatial Planning. It's going to really rock! You know I'm kidding. So I'll make you a deal. I'll make the next 60 minutes easy, fun and entertaining.
First and foremost, let's start this off by saying thank you! Thank you for making this event what it is. I'm struck, as I am every year, by the energy and insight you all bring to these 4 days. You truly are some of the most creative, thoughtful, kick-ass people I have ever met in my life. It's truly inspiring to talk with you all. There's a huge amount of amazing information that's exchanged. Thank you for sharing your experiences and asking us great questions, and thank you for being in your seats for those 8:00 a.m. classes, even though you went to bed at 2:00 am, 3:00 am, or in some cases, didn't get to bed. I'd like to have everyone here from Autodesk today, please give our customers a big round of applause. This week you heard a lot about how the world of design is evolving and how technology is enabling this change.
OPENING GENERAL SESSION
We began the week with CTO Jeff Kowalski challenging you to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Looking outside your traditional ways of doing things. I hope you'll take his advice and step out of your current mindset and your current toolset.
CEO Carl Bass touched upon several new tools that allow you to do exactly this: Fusion 360, CAM 360, BIM 360, Dynamo, InfraWorks, Reality Computing. You heard about Showcase that turns your 3D model into an interactive experience and provides rich visuals for presentations and walk-throughs. Regardless of your industry, you now have a new way to collaborate, Autodesk 360, which puts your projects at the center and is the platform for the cloud-based technologies I just referenced. I hope you had a least one moment when you felt the ground move and your world shift and you thought, this is going to change the way I work.
NOW IS THE TIME
I'm not here to talk about technology. I'm here really to remind you that right here, right now, is the best time ever to be an engineer, a designer, an architect... someone who makes or builds things. Why? You have some of the meatiest, thorniest, biggest and most important challenges ever. Housing, feeding, clothing, educating, transporting 6 billion, going to 9 billion people, in the world — meeting all of their product needs. Don't you live for that kind of big challenge?
Throughout history your peers have risen to these kinds of challenges — from the shipbuilders who united the world's peoples through travel and trade to the folks that enabled the industrial revolution which influenced every part of life, to the widespread development and distribution of electricity and clean water, medicine imaging, and today, the information revolution in the form of computers and the Internet — engineers and designers have been at the forefront of solving issues that have tested us throughout the centuries. You in this room today are cut from the very same cloth. You have the imagination, creativity and ability to bring fully to bear on today's challenges. You have access to tools and technology as never before. From the worldwide web, that can provide so much of the infrastructure to connect people, to all of the new 3d scanning and manufacturing capabilities — new materials, 3d printers, on-demand fabrication shops — now at your disposal; to elastic computing — giving you access to the same super-computer as giant company down the street to run your simulations to make better decisions.
Great challenges and the ability to solve them in ways that were not possible before, so this really is the best time in history to be a designer or an engineer. Some of you may be saying "Yeah, yeah, it's fine for you to say that but you don't have to deal with my budgets, or my boss." or "I'm not working on saving the planet, I'm just designing a better mousetrap." I'll say two things in response: Who said that being a great designer or engineer isn't about dealing with constraints? It is the core of what being a great designer or engineer is. And who said that change had to happen all at once in a dramatic way? After all, the worldwide web started as a better way for particle physicists to share, comment and cross-reference their work.
SEIZE THE MOMENT
I've got proof that I'm not alone in thinking this way. I'm going to talk about three completely different projects, from completely different industries. Three projects that tackle everything from enhancing a museum experience and engaging students to re-engineering a multi-city, multi development infrastructure project to designing a vehicle that has the potential to unlock the moon's resources. But they are bound together by one idea: they each thought about their problem and believed that this is their time to do what seemed impossible before. But armed with a new mindset and toolset, they've seized their moment.
Smithsonian Digital Museum
Here's something many of us find impossible everyday — getting our 14-year old children off their phones and paying attention to math, science, and history. I think if you're looking inspire kids with the wonder of flight, instead of sketching an airfoil shape on the screen and writing out the fluid dynamics equation, wouldn't you rather bring them up close to the real thing? Show them the real thing? Now you can just bring the Wright brother's plane to life. Not just spin it around but actually slice a cross-section through it and show the original airfoil shape that enabled flight for the first time.
Want to get them fired up about art, culture, and history? What better way to jolt them out of the monotony of staring at their Facebook feed, Snapchat stream, or YouTube dream than to give them an up close view of a thousand year old sculpture of a Buddha? Let them get up close, from thousands of miles away to every bit of detail, inscription and storytelling on this amazing sculpture. In fact, being able to see detail that is not visible to the naked eye. What everyone has access to now is a digital collection of the most iconic objects of the Smithsonian collection powered by Reality Computing solutions from Autodesk. These virtual replicas are as detailed and beautiful as the physical objects and are part of an online 3D storytelling tool.
Did you know that even in the 325,000 square feet of exhibit spaces that encompass the Smithsonian Museum, only 1% of the collection is on display? They have over 140 million objects and are limited by physical space. And despite being one of the most popular museums in the world, only 7 million people actually are able to physically visit the Smithsonian galleries every year.
Now they are on their way to a 24x7 museum accessible to everyone around the world, capable of holding more objects than the physical museums, and of showing them in greater detail. This is what is possible today. Not only has their mindset changed, but their toolset is enabling to do much more than they could have done up until now. Educators can use these 3D digital libraries of past cultural, art, and scientific achievements to teach in a new interactive way. Students can get behind the glass, learn about and learn from the artifacts to produce unique personal experiences. They can 3d print them, and hopefully this sparks their imagination into joining you to further explore the worlds of science, technology, and engineering. Museums, inspiring students — changing mindsets. Seizing their moment.
Check out Smithsonian X 3D for yourself.
Modeling Los Angeles at Urban Scale
Now, I know that many of you, in this room, live for challenges just like this. Thinking big, solving tough problems. How about a gnarly, everyday problem like planning the infrastructure of a bustling, growing area like Los Angeles? There's just a ton of data to bring to bear on any change that needs to be made here — from terrain maps, aerial photographs, GIS data, building models, roads, bridges — isn't this just an impossible challenge? Remember that changing tools and technology were part of the reason you could do things today that you could never do before. Now, in a tool like InfraWorks you're able to bring all of the data together. 1 GB, 1 TB, GIS, BIM data — it's all the same.
The Port of Long Beach is one of the busiest seaports in the world. It's the second busiest port in the US. And, it's BIG, boasting 3,200 acres of land, 10 piers, 80 berths, 66 cranes and 22 shipping terminals. Talk about thinking big. It is in a single 3D model in Infraworks. In fact, there's more than the Port of Long Beach — there's the entire Los Angeles Metro area — hundreds of thousands of road and rail segments, terabytes of terrain and imagery and over 3 Million buildings created and viewed in a single model.
There are a number of major rail and infrastructure projects being planned, designed, and constructed to connect broader communities and commuters throughout the region. Part of this connected transportation system is the new 6th Street Bridge project. As with most projects, there is not just one design, but several proposals that are all being done here using InfraWorks — helping to evaluate design alternatives in a larger, more realistic environment. Underground rail alignments and stations can be visualized in the context of their surface surroundings showing connections and access areas, and the same model for one part of the city is able to serve other projects across the city. Thousands of miles of roadways, multiple projects in one of world's busiest seaports, underground transportation systems in the 2nd largest city in the United States. All in one model. The City of Los Angeles. Seizing their moment.
What is more recognizable than the moon? What holds more superstition, inspiration, and awe? John Lennon and Pink Floyd wrote songs about the moon. Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien both wrote about the power of the moon. And who here hasn't dreamed of going to the moon?
A few of us remember Apollo 11, landing the first humans on the Moon, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on July 20, 1969 and most of us have seen the pictures and heard the tales. I bet that many of us have dreamed about being an astronaut or in mission control or designing the next spacecraft to the moon. John Kennedy said about space exploration that "We chose to go to the moon, not because it was easy, but because it was hard." We had a great generation that accepted that challenge. How about ours? Could you or I now design a spacecraft? There's a lot more building blocks available today: Composite materials with amazing strength and weight characteristics, 3D printing, additive/subtractive manufacturing, simulation tools using infinite computing — they are redefining what is possible today. A single engineer can do what it once took an entire company to do. In the age of Apollo, you would point to a spacecraft computer board and say, "that board was done by Company X" whereas today we say, "that board was done by Dorian."
Let me introduce you to a small company, Moon Express, who is seizing their moment and dreaming BIG. They are taking advantage of all of the technology we just talked about and developing flexible and scalable robotic spacecrafts that will radically change the cost of space exploration and unlock the mysteries of the moon. It's just a cool story.
I went down to their campus a few weeks ago and meet with the team. Guess what? There was not one white dress shirt or skinny tie. Their work space was protected by Wookies and had these great posters that said "What would Spock do?" Moon Express undertook a vastly different prototype and testing process than spacecraft of yesteryear. I watched an engineer simulate the flow and slosh of how the fuel will move within the vessel. It was a great experience, and it did give me goose bumps and made me feel like I did back in 1969. And to think when I saw their lander a few weeks ago, it was just a couple of inner tubes and some tinfoil!
Learn more about Moon Express.
SEIZE YOUR MOMENT
So today, you've heard about the Smithsonian, the City of Los Angeles, and Moon Express, all seizing their moment. Believing that the radical changes in technology and tools, coupled with a change in their mindset makes this their moment. It is the best time ever to be an engineer, a designer, someone who makes and build things. So I encourage you to seize this moment. It has never been a better time in history to do what you do. Seize your moment and history will remember you for leaving your prints on this world. Thank you.
Thanks to Senior Manager of AEC Strategic Communications, Justine Crosby, who was the principle writer for the session whose script I massaged for the content in this blog article. As part of rehearsal, Justine was kind enough to take a picture of me by the Moon Express MX-1 Lunar Lander unveiled at AU.
I am standing next to a model of something that will land on and explore the moon.
"To the moon, Alice, to the moon." — Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden
Seizures are alive in the lab.