by Armel Guillet
The recent ECCOMAS (European Community on Computational Methods in Applied Sciences) conference, held in Paris 9-13 September 1996, was an undisputed success. The conference brought together nearly 700 participants, from 43 countries, who were able to take stock in the latest developments in scientific computation and its applications in telecommunications, transport, energy, environment, biology, chemistry, aerospace, etc.
A number of new trends which were highlighted included:
Two fields remaining particularly active include: the study of solvers and the development of numerical models. Solvers, used to approximate and solve equations, have already found their place in industry and lie at the heart of software packages used in design departments. However, problems of accuracy, validation of results or utilization on moving or adapted meshes remain critical. The sessions addressing these subjects were of great interest well attended.
Innovative numerical models are also being developed that allow distributed simulation with HPCN (High Performance Computer Network) tools which involve coarse grain parallel computers. Traditional applications, such as external aerodynamics and structure calculation, are increasingly considered in a multidisciplinary context both in research and development. The combined fluid-structures-electromagnetism approach in the aeronautics sector is one example.
Presentations and discussions held during the five days generated stronger ties between research and industry, which is the underlying basis of the conference. Opening ceremony participants Bernard Bigot (DGRT), Jacques-Louis Lions (Academy of Sciences), Bernard Larrouturou (President of INRIA), Guy Aubert (General Director of CNRS), David Gardner (British Aerospace), Arthuro Gareia Arroyo and Thierry van der Pyl (European Commission), Jacques Périaux (Dassault) were in agreement on the need for cooperation between research and industry. According to Michel Giraud, president of the Ile de France region, research is the key to competitiveness and future job creation. In this context, Jacques-Louis Lions highlighted, numerical modelling is a vital element. Research demands both medium-and long-term investment, together with industry-oriented develop-ments. Bernard Bigot, Serge Dassault and representatives of the European Commission also stressed this point.
While applied mechanics still have an important place in the industrial sector and play a major role in the field of application, scientific computation continues to have a growing impact on a number of new sectors (materials sciences, various chemistry applications, biology, immunology, image processing, etc.). The next Eccomas conferences, which will be held in Athens in 1998 and Barcelona in the year 2000, will continue to follow these trends.
Patrick Le Tallec - INRIA
Tel : +33 1 39 63 54 83
E-mail : Patrick.Le_Tallec@inria.fr