Can you guess the meaning of the CAC Logo?
The CAC logo is very special. If you are not a fan of chemistry, you might not have guessed that the logo is a representation of a chemical structure. If you are a fan of chemistry, see if you can figure out what the chemical structure is – and we will give you a hint: in terms of the changes in our climate this is one of the most important chemical structures that will impact all of humankind. Since we want to give you the chance to figure this out on your own, we will put the answer in our next FAQ entry. Good luck!
The meaning of the CAC Logo revealed.
Our logo is an abstraction of the chemical representation of ice (see diagram below). An important part of our mission is to be “defenders of natural ice,” wherever it may exist. The melting of the Earth’s natural ice reserves is highly likely to result in catastrophic impacts worldwide, so it is in our collective best interest to reduce melting through reducing greenhouse gasses. To learn a bit more about the chemical structure of ice, check out this interesting web page.
In our logo, the dark green circles represent atoms of Oxygen and the tan circles represent atoms of Hydrogen. As shown in the diagram, ice has a crystalline structure as opposed to water which is amorphous. As a result, ice is less dense than water and therefore it floats.
How is the CAC Foundation funded?
Currently, we are in a pre-funding stage of development. Our aim is to use a mix of government funding and impact investments from “social VC” firms to fund the startup of the CAC Foundation. We are exploring a range of options to secure sustainable funding for the CAC Foundation while at the same time ensuing that access to the digital models for sustainability and climate resilience remain free.
NOTE: The CAC Foundation is an organization that is established with the sole purpose of maintaining the library of open-source digital models for different types of sustainability and climate resiliency projects. Actual execution of Concurrent Design activities, building facilities, training and other elements of our solution are provided by our industrial and academic partners.
How much does the software cost?
Most organizations that currently undertake Model Based System Engineering (MBSE) already have the tools required to do this. To make these processes concurrent and collaborative requires the addition of a “model-of-models” tool such as RHEA Group’s Comet / CDP4 that is currently in use at ESA.
The good news is that the Comet Community Edition is free and open-source, which significantly lowers barriers for organizations that wish to get started with Concurrent Design (CD). Similarly the models curated by the Climate Action Center Foundation are also free and open-source, thus allowing organizations to derive incredible value with very limited investment.
For organizations that have undertaken several CD activities and are becoming comfortable with concurrent / collaborative MBSE, we recommend that they explore purchasing a Comet / CDP4 Enterprise License, which offers premium support and first-in-line opportunities to submit new feature requests.
Why make the models free when you could earn money from them?
There are two reasons for having the models be open source:
Widest possible use: We want to ensure the maximum benefit to people and the planet resulting from our models. The best way to ensure their widespread use is to make them free. Making this argument even stronger, the software that hosts the models is also free and open-source thus removing a key barrier of entry to those who want to join the CAC Community.
Building a collective knowledge base: If the models were “closed source” and proprietary (even if we were to give them away for free), there would be little incentive for members of our community to enhance the models and contribute their knowledge into the ecosystem. By providing the models using an MIT license, we encourage not only the free use of the models, but also we encourage members of our community to enhance the models and contribute those enhancements back to central repository thus helping all other members of our community. As has been demonstrated at ESA, digital models can be an extremely effective way of sharing knowledge across a large number of projects.
Will it cost more to use Digital Engineering and Concurrent Design?
Yes, if you are currently not using these techniques, costs will go up in the short-term. Naturally, any change program comes at a cost. However, in the mid-term and especially in the longer term these techniques and technologies open up exciting new avenues for many different types of cost savings, including the following:
Acceleration of projects: It is logical to conclude that when a project can be executed in a shorter timeframe, the overhead costs associated with project management will be lower. This is one of the first ways that organizations can see cost savings when switching to Digital Engineering / Concurrent Design.
Reuse of assets and knowledge: In many organizations, projects start from a “zero baseline” where project management and technical teams have to “start from scratch” in the design and planning of implementation of new systems. As has been seen at ESA, planning for a new space mission begins with a rich set of digital models that have evolved over years to capture nearly all of the common elements required to put a capability into space. This gives engineers and other project team members a “70% starting point” from which they can build upon to reach a final high level design. In the Climate Action Center we want to take this concept one step further and freely share our underlying digital models globally, thus resulting in cost savings at a massive scale.
Improved quality: At ESA, a study was conducted that concluded that projects employing Concurrent Design from the outset produce higher quality specifications to be included in public tenders resulting in more than 30% fewer engineering changes after contract award. The significance of this should not be underestimated: engineering changes after contract award incur not only a financial cost (sometimes substantial cost) but also costs in terms of time and quality. By reducing engineering changes after contract award, projects can deliver with lower risk and a higher degree of determinism.
Cost of Risk: Any good project manager knows that it is important to assign a cost to key project risks. As risks materialize in nearly every project, this is a real cost that must be taken into account when estimating project budgets. As was stated in the previous bullet on quality, the use of Digital Engineering / Concurrent Design will result in projects with a lower risk, which will ultimately be reflected in a lower overall risk cost for projects.
Opportunity cost: There are numerous documented cases where projects enter the Concurrent Design process and after closer examination by the multidisciplinary team it is determined that the projects were not required because there were other better ways to address the problem. While some may view cancellation of a project to be a failure, it is actually a great success because it frees up limited human and financial capital to work on other higher priority projects.
In which industries is Digital Engineering / Concurrent Design being used?
Although CAD / CAM has been around for many decades, true collaborative and concurrent Model Based System Engineering (MBSE) is still in its infancy.
The European Space Agency has been using Concurrent Design (a form of concurrent MBSE) since the late 1990s and with great success. Building on that success, CD has since been adopted by many organizations, including:
- Large aerospace firms
- NASA / JPL
- A major European luxury yacht builder
- Dutch Ministry of Defence
- US Air Force and US Navy
- Major manufacturers in the automotive and food service industries
- Universities and academic organizations
- … and many others
Of interest, however, we do not yet see major adoption of concurrent / collaborative MBSE within the municipal and regional sustainability and resiliency market. The CAC aims to fill this gap with a wide range of innovative solutions sourced from our partner network.
We have an organization that is not located in Europe. Can we participate in the CAC?
Yes! The CAC is globally scoped because the problems we are trying to solve are global in nature. As ESA has demonstrated “A digital model knows no boundaries”.
For example, the fundamental elements of a digital model for implementation of a district heating system based on industrial heat pumps that is created for a project in the Netherlands would still contain very valuable information for an organization running a similar project in Thailand. Since we are making the models available to using an MIT open-source license, they can be re-used regardless of where the end-user is located.
What is a Fieldlab?
Fieldlabs are real life testing sites where various parties collaborate to develop, test, learn to implement and scale-up new technologies for commercial applications. Our unique “Digital Fieldlab” focuses on all aspects of digitizing a wide array of solutions for climate related sustainability and resilience projects with an emphasis on the open sharing of these digital models to ensure that the models have maximum positive impact. Stakeholders include researchers, entrepreneurs, established companies, local, regional and national government representatives and even ordinary citizens.
Is a fully-equipped facility required to get started?
No. While we see great value in having a facility that is custom designed to support Digital Engineering / Concurrent Design (DE/CD), it is not required. In fact, many organizations begin their journey into these improved ways of working by bringing teams together in a regular conference room equipped with a few projectors and a laptop computer for each of the participants.
Keeping this in mind, if your organization wishes to undertake DE/CD with teams that are geographically dispersed or if you anticipate that your organization will do more than 10 CD studies per year, having a dedicated facility of some nature will ultimately save time and result in lower costs.
The advanced collaboration facility depicted on our website and in this post is highly optimized to support “hyper-collaboration” of teams that are solving extremely difficult problems. If you are interested in learning more about building advanced collaboration facilities, please reach out to our partner Digital Engineering Pathfinders.
Who owns Climate Action Center facilities?
Climate Action Center facilities can be owned by governments, academic institutes or private companies. Typically the CAC facility will be owned and operated by an organization that is already involved in some manner in CO2 reduction (sustainability) or climate change adaptation (resiliency) projects such as a local or regional government or possibly an academic institute.
In some cases, CAC facilities can be owned by private companies, especially if the company is one that plans to use Digital Engineering and Concurrent Design methods during project execution / delivery. Furthermore, some of our industry partners operate their own Digital Engineering / Concurrent Design facilities and these can be rented out on an as needed basis for individual projects.
The CAC Foundation does not own and operate facilities.
We already have modeling software in our organization, what is new about what is offered in the CAC?
The term “modeling software” is quite generic and broad ranging. On one end of the spectrum, software models can be implemented in common spreadsheets; at the other extreme they can be hand coded in traditional programming languages. In fact, if you were to do a survey of any company that does system engineering, you are likely to find a wide range of modeling tools in use – often times on the same project.
At the CAC, we bring an entirely new capability to the table with RHEA Group’s Comet / CDP4 software. Comet is a highly specialized modeling tool that enables collaborative and concurrent model based system engineering (MBSE). It does this by supporting a number of interoperability protocols that allow it to automatically exchange data with a number of different systems including Microsoft Excel, MatLab, IBM Rational Doors, Cameo and many more.
For example, using Comet / CDP4, you can extract information from high-fidelity simulation tools that model the fluid dynamic flows over a ship’s hull into the same “system-of-systems” model that is also being fed by a cost modeling tool and even an HR database.
To learn more about RHEA’s system-of-system based modeling tool suite, contact us or feel free to reach out directly to RHEA Group for more information.
What is ReqIF and why is it important?
RIF/ReqIF (Requirements Interchange Format) is an XML file format that can be used to exchange requirements, along with its associated metadata, between software tools from different vendors. The requirements exchange format also defines a workflow for transmitting the status of requirements between partners. Although developed in the automotive industry, ReqIF is suitable for lossless exchange of requirements in any industry.
For the CAC, ReqIF is important because it allows for the exchange of requirements information between Comet / CDP4 and other requirements management systems such as IBM Rational Doors. By automating the exchange of requirements information it becomes possible to have Comet / CDP4 automatically validate that systems modeled in SysML are meeting the requirements specified in Doors.
What is SysML and why is it important?
The Systems Modeling Language (SysML) is a general-purpose modeling language for systems engineering applications. It supports the specification, analysis, design, verification and validation of a broad range of systems and systems-of-systems.
SysML was originally developed by an open source specification project, and includes an open source license for distribution and use. SysML is defined as an extension of a subset of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) using UML’s profile mechanism. The language’s extensions were designed to support systems engineering activities.
For the CAC, SysML is important because it is one of the key interoperability standards supported by Comet / CDP4. It can be used to exchange modeling information with a number of other tools such as Enterprise Architect, Cameo and others.