Interoperability / data exchange
In the world of Open Source softwares, interoperability of softwares packages is a key factor to the perennity of the developments. Without interoperability, each development effort is just limited to its own scope and the "return-on-personal-time-investment" is far from optimal.
The last years have show the emergence of standards for the exhange of data in the field of office documents, multimedia content etc.. but at the moment, there is a clear lack of coordination on the exchange of CAD geometries, FE/CFD meshes or analysis & experimental results. In order to create a coherent alternative to *black-box" commercial softwares, the data exchance between open-source CAE softwares should be improved and new software developments should try to focus on providing support for the exchange of basic data types commonly used in these fields, like meshes (nodes, elements, groups), fields (of scalars / tensors, at nodes, at gauss points etc...).
A very interesting thread on these issues is discussed on CAELinux FEA interoperability forum.
The main fields that should be improved are:
- bi-directionnal exchange of basic FEA data: definition of a "standard" / preferred data file format for FE model/result exhange between open-source codes.
- Tutorials and documentation on how to combine the strength of open-source software packages in order to solve real-world industrial simulation problems.
File conversion & CAD/FEA/CFD data exchange
Several good formats exist for the exchange of data.
One rising star in the world of 3D solid modeling is the STEP format. Designed to be a successor the the IGES format, STEP is widely compatible and often available as an export option from many popular 3D solid modeling systems. There has even been news that future CNC machining systems may be able to directly load STEP files and eliminate the necessity of conversion to G-Code CNC programs.
ACIS files, designated SAT files, are another good candidate for 3D model exchange. The ACIS modeling engine is used by many popular CAD systems. Typically these systems can also produce STEP files, so STEP would be preferred.
NASTRAN files are another possible option. They can include mesh data.
Tutorials and Documentation
...section to be written...