Posted by: Christian Verstraete | October 20, 2010

Use PLM to break a speed record

Today I heard a presentation on Bloodhound SSC, the project to break the 1000 MPH miles per Hour) barrier on land. Who the heck is interested in sitting on a rocket, pushed by a jet engine, driving in the desert at such dazzling speed? I wouldn’t want to do it. However there are two aspects of the project that really interest and intrigue me. First, this project is run as a showcase of engineering, and has as key objective to attract new generations to engineering jobs. The second is that, while being built by a community of enterprises, institutes and universities, the project has no issues in making all its data available to the world. This makes it an ideal candidate for a community cloud approach.

Engineering talent, like supply chain talent, are in short supply at the moment, not just in the UK, where this project is run, but across EMEA and the US. Richard Noble pointed out the last time the engineering community had grown drastically was in the 60’s and early 70’s on the back of the “man on the moon” project. So, in his mind a new engineering venture was required. Living in the UK, it could only be breaking the 1000 MPH barrier. And then make sure schools would know about what he does, would follow the venture and get excited about it. Today, nearly 4000 schools, from nurseries to universities, are following the project, building excitement around the country. But if we want to make sure not just UK students get excited, we need to spread the word and ensure teachers around the globe are understanding what is happening. That’s one reason for this  blog entry.

The other point Richard Noble made was that every such car is completely different and that technologies cannot be re-used from one to the other. This means he has no problems making data public. Working with companies, institutes and universities, sharing information and collaborating is key. Wouldn’t this be a good opportunity to develop a community cloud, accessible by all members of the Bloodhound SSC ecosystem. This would ensure everybody is using the latest data, that updates are available instantaneously and that team members  could share their results and experiences.

As far as I could make out from the short discussion I had with him, this is not currently in place, but I believe it would be an excellent project to demonstrate the power of such concept in a real, high profile, project.

So, good luck to Bloodhound SSC and their attempt to break the speed record. Good luck in rebuilding our engineering communities as we really need more candidates moving forward. May the concept of cloud slowly but surely be integrated in the approaches taken by the team.

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