Expertise@ALTEN: Scientific Software Engineering


A specific area of expertise at ALTEN is scientific software engineering. The work is at the intersection of software engineering and one or more scientific disciplines and requires a multidisciplinary approach. In this article we wish to share a story of one of our scientific software consultants: Abhinand.  

As the development of modern computers is ever improving, we are provided with a powerful platform to explore endless possibilities. The applications range from day-to-day events, like weather forecasting, to sophisticated missions like simulating the trajectory of a satellite to Mars. During my master’s in Aerospace Engineering from TU Delft, the field of scientific software engineering piqued my interest as a promising career opportunity. Through my experiences at and before ALTEN, I wish to elucidate further how complex systems can be analyzed using computational models.   Most of us have had the pleasure in our childhood of roller skating all around the neighborhood with friends. Have you ever experienced a situation though, where one of the wheels suddenly stops rotating? This is almost always because one of the small metallic balls, known as a bearing, is either jammed or pushed out of its position. Bearings are vital mechanical components, usually spherical or cylindrical in shape, that are responsible for efficiently transferring motion between two rotating objects. Now imagine that a bearing malfunctions in a large industrial machine with a complex network of interconnected shafts. Apart from the huge loss to the machine’s productivity, there is the additional cost of repair and maintenance. To avoid these undesirable circumstances, it becomes imperative to predict the outcome of a wide range of operating conditions .   The only way to reliably perform this action in a fast and repeatable manner is by using robust simulation tools . Alternatively, to undertake factory durability tests on every newly designed component is not only cumbersome but also expensive.     I currently work in one such project of ALTEN for a global leader in the design and manufacturing of bearings. Their modelling and analysis software is state-of-the-art in determining bearing properties such as loading capacity, temperature dependency, and overall life. It is not only used by in-house R&D for testing innovative designs , but is also used across the industry to help users choose the right bearing for their application.   Prior to my role at ALTEN, I worked at a company that makes flight simulators for aviation schools and flying enthusiasts. While it was an educative experience to develop the simulation software, an important responsibility of mine was to accurately tune the aerodynamic performance of different aircraft using the same solver setup. It is highly profitable for the aircraft industry to have such virtual training environments so that they can easily initiate trainee pilots at a much lower cost before having to venture out into the real world.   Having seen a glimpse of what is in store has only strengthened my ambition of becoming an expert scientific software engineer. It is also quite helpful that the ALTEN ecosystem provides ample opportunities for growth due to a clientele that engages in products across different sectors. Along with a focus on developing the required software skills through training programs, there is also a wide network of erudite colleagues who are enthusiastic to share their knowledge and experiences. With these ingredients comes the ability to tackle any project with ingenuity, teamwork, and a bit of succinct coding.    The ability to create a significant impact in a project and to continue learning is a challenging yet fulfilling part of working at ALTEN. As we head into new realms of artificial intelligence and virtual reality, one can only imagine what the world will look like in the not-so-distant future. ”    Abhinand Pusuluri
Are you interested in a position as a Scientific Software Engineer and become a colleague of Abhinand? Click here.
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