Today I start a new job at Autodesk. Though I have been associated with Autodesk Labs for the last 10 years, as a software development manager and as a program manager, my new focus is on Autodesk Forge. For the uninitiated, Forge is:
- a set of Application Program Interfaces (APIs) that we use to develop our cloud solutions.
- a community of developers who use these APIs to extend our cloud solutions to provide even more value to our customers.
- a fund where we make grants to developers who are helping to improve the overall cloud-based ecosystem.
Although Forge is intended for external developers, we can use it internally too. That's where I come in. My job will be to help our researchers convert their research into technology that can be included in our professional services. Our strategy for doing so is to take the research and use the Forge platform to get it to the appropriate technology readiness level:
Basic principles observed and reported: Transition from scientific research to applied research. Essential characteristics and behaviors of systems and architectures. Descriptive tools are mathematical formulations or algorithms.
Technology concept and/or application formulated: Applied research. Theory and scientific principles are focused on specific application area to define the concept. Characteristics of the application are described. Analytical tools are developed for simulation or analysis of the application.
Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof-of-concept: Proof of concept validation. Active Research and Development (R&D) is initiated with analytical and laboratory studies. Demonstration of technical feasibility using breadboard or brass board implementations that are exercised with representative data.
Component/subsystem validation in the laboratory environment: Standalone prototyping implementation and test. Integration of technology elements. Experiments with full-scale problems or data sets.
System/subsystem/component validation in the relevant environment: Thorough testing of prototyping in a representative environment. Basic technology elements integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements. Prototyping implementations conform to target environment and interfaces.
System/subsystem model or prototyping demonstration in a relevant end-to-end environment (ground or space): Prototyping implementations on full-scale realistic problems. Partially integrated with existing systems. Limited documentation available. Engineering feasibility fully demonstrated in the actual system application.
System prototyping demonstration in an operational environment (ground or space): System prototyping demonstration in an operational environment. The system is at or near the scale of the operational system, with most functions available for demonstration and test. Well integrated with collateral and ancillary systems. Limited documentation available.
Actual system completed and "mission qualified" through test and demonstration in an operational environment (ground or space): End of system development. Fully integrated with operational hardware and software systems. Most user documentation, training documentation, and maintenance documentation completed. All functionality tested in simulated and operational scenarios. Verification and Validation (V&V) completed.
Actual system "mission proven" through successful mission operations (ground or space): Fully integrated with operational hardware/software systems. Actual system has been thoroughly demonstrated and tested in its operational environment. All documentation completed. Successful operational experience. Sustaining engineering support in place.
Once the technology is ready, I will work with the Autodesk product managers to include the technology in our existing cloud-based offerings. I will try to do this by demonstrating some use cases, created based on the feedback that I have collected from technology previews over the years.
As far as the technology previews go, they will continue. Our beta coordinators will be coordinating the technology previews just like they have been doing with the beta programs.
So fear not. You will still have the opportunity to help shape the future of our technology with your experience.
As far as It's Alive in the Lab blogging goes, my plan is to continue blogging occasionally about Forge and see what the level of interest is. If people keep reading, I will keep writing. What will be alive in the lab will be some Forge-related projects. I will continue to use Twitter but plan on using Facebook much less. I am just so sick of fake news on Facebook and epidemic negativity based on inaccurate information. I will tag posts with the hashtag #AutodeskForge.
Change is alive in the lab.