We sat down with Cyprien Rusu, our Director of Engineering in Asia this past week to discuss his passion for FEA, what brought him to OnScale, and what it’s like being able to speak 6 languages.
To say that Cyprien likes FEA is an understatement - in his free time, he actively maintains a blog “FEA for All: From Basics to Advanced” where he takes pleasure in educating the FEA community in all things FEA! His Youtube channel has a community of over 5,000 engineers who all benefit greatly from his tutorials and deep understanding of FEA. It is a pleasure to be able to interview Cyprien and pick his brain on FEA and simulation.
Can you fill in the blank? #ImAnEngineerAnd _____.
So tell me, what’s it like being multilingual and experiencing many different cultures?
“I have learned that you become very flexible mentally. People in different countries have different beliefs about things, and those are very dependent on the country, the people, and the local mindset. The more you learn the language, the more you get deep into the psychology of the local people.
I think we can learn about everything quickly when we are exposed to different ways of thinking. What was obvious for me in my initial culture (for example, I assumed everyone liked chocolate) was not necessarily true in countries like China for example (where chocolate and sweets are not widely enjoyed). That’s when we start to become aware of our initial cultural build-up, the next step is when we realize we can change almost everything about ourselves to become much better at everything we do.
I know you’re into photography. What’s your favorite photo you’ve ever taken and what draws you to the camera?
“I took this photo in China of a construction worker in the city. China has many migrant construction workers who come from poor regions, who are unfortunately very poor and often exploited as they are seeking a better life in the city. Some of them are paid once a year so that the company is sure they can’t leave their job. I have always been touched by that, and that’s what was in my mind when I took this photo. This photo in particular has a strong meaning because of the character in the background which means ‘construction.’ I guess this is the price paid for progress in China, it makes me kind of sad as I strongly believe in the equality of chances for everyone.
I like photography overall because I like to be an observer of the world. I like to go in the street, take my camera and just watch what happens. I love capturing the moment. When you are in another country, immersed in their culture, you see things differently with your own eyes. You begin to notice all these small details that make your own perception of the world different.”
So what brought you to OnScale, and why did you join?
“Last year, Gerry and Andy got in touch with me saying that they have this new startup idea - ‘we want to put everything on the cloud.’ At first, it seemed like a crazy idea. But then I tried OnScale for the first time. I immediately saw that it was an advanced engineering tool with a huge potential, and very practical and real examples for the electronic, medical and non-destructive testing industries which makes it useful right away. The addition of the cloud component enables it to simulate huge models that no other CAE software can currently solve.
I also knew that OnScale is a software that has very accurate solvers which have been tested for 30 years and developed inside large, international companies. So these solvers were developed for global and scalable engineering companies, not just a toy developed for a few months and thrown to engineers. OnScale is backed by real technology, and at the same time has the flexibility of a small company. This was very attractive to me as I felt like I would be able to add a lot of value.”
What exactly do you do at OnScale, and what’s your favorite part of your job and why?
“Well, I’m an engineer specializing in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulation and software. At the same time, I have experience in Asian markets (China, Korea, Japan) because I speak the languages and know the culture well. I’ve been entrusted with all the technology in this part of the world, to manage all the partners here in Asia.
The thing is, if you don’t know the language, you go here as an American trying to sell stuff and it’s very difficult because of the language barrier, and not to mention the cultural barrier. So I’m here as an expert who speaks the language, understands the culture, and will serve as a successful interface to ensure all of our messaging is transmitted correctly.
Ultimately, I want to enable OnScale to become the software that all future engineers will want to use.”
Can you tell me a little bit more about why you are so passionate about FEA?
“Back in 2006, I first learned about FEA in one of my engineering courses. Even then, I had the feeling that this is basically legos for engineers. You can build almost everything imaginable with FEA on your computer. Instead of building a real car and seeing how it can be used in the real world, which would take years, you can now do that on a computer. In just a few short hours, you’re able to analyze and simulate the whole thing - every aspect of it! You’re essentially building real things that are really useful to the world, very quickly.
You get the immediate reward of seeing the things you do, almost immediately on your computer. And I find that seeing the results of your efforts is quite motivating and makes you proud of your work.”
So being that you are something of a simulation expert, can you help explain to me why exactly OnScale is unique to all other simulation software currently out there?
“The first thing you should understand is that there is simulation, and there is simulation. So it’s not every software that can do the same thing. That’s why the solvers behind the software are very important. Some software can analyze some very specific physical phenomenon, other solvers just can’t do it. To give you an example, at OnScale, one of our specialties is acoustic sensors coupled with MEMS. This is actually very difficult to simulate, for one simple reason which is that we are coupling three types of physics together.
One is acoustic (sound waves), another is structural analysis (mechanical stresses), and the third one is electrostatic analysis (Voltage and Power). We have very good Multi-physics solvers which can simulate this physical coupling in a very cost-effective way. So if you’re using OnScale and you launch a simulation, you can couple those three kinds of physics and simulate them at once and get your results immediately, thus removing unnecessary back and forth which is what usually happens in loosely coupled solvers.
What would it look like using another software for this specific simulation?
“Most of the time this process takes too long to even consider it because you may need to have three totally different models and some way to link data from one model to another. This can take days or weeks just to set-up, and this is typically only appropriate for PhDs - not designers trying to get results quickly. But if I was to break it down, I would say there are at least six steps (if not more):
- You first run the electrical simulation.
- You then get the results out of the electrical simulation.
- You put those results into your structural module.
- You then run a second structural module simulation.
- You then get the results out of the structural module simulation.
- Finally, you take those results out and put it in the acoustic solver for your final results.
All of that to say that it would basically take you years to actually successfully simulate this. OnScale does it all at once and since we put it on the cloud, we’ve greatly accelerated it with the number of cores we can use. That’s why we are much faster in those industries and why we are really giving value to those companies.
OnScale also provides some models out-of-the-box which can be used with just some minor tweaks. I have not seen any other company confident enough to do that yet.”
I love your deep passion and knowledge about FEA and simulation. When’s the last time you pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone?
“Always & every day. I always tell myself to never stay in my comfort zone. I aspire to be better, faster, stronger every day.”
We’ve come to our last question Cyprien, what’s the best piece life advice you would give someone in regards to finding happiness and fulfillment?
“The most important thing you can do, is to realize that you can learn anything. If you take enough time and enough effort, you can always learn and become what you want. That kind of realization struck me a long time ago - if I want to become something, I just learn how to do it. That’s all. I can become whatever I want. That’s one of the most important pieces of advice that I could give to someone.”