"I think if I were rating 'what’s the most advanced at Space Access' I’d put [xcompute] as number one."- Dr David Livingston The Space Show - Transcript
"As someone who is coming from the other side of the process (helping humans build mental models with which they can solve problems computationally!), I think of your effort as a crucial one to bring the full power of computing's tools and capabilities to a place humans can productively leverage." - Zachary Dodds Harvey Mudd College, Dept of Computer Science
The Space Show, 13 May 2019
Source Audio: The Space Show - Broadcast 3314 - Kim Holder, Rick Kwan & John Jossy, Monday 13 May 2019
Transcription by Jonathan Savell
Words in brackets and italics are notes by transcriber.
[SL] = sounds like
[UI] = unintelligible
[OV] = overlapping voices
Rick Kwan: So, I am biased towards one of the presentations. So, just before… so Kim mentioned that just before her presentation, there was one by Xplicit Computing...um, I’m sort of an insider for that particular company. I know, I, because of what he’s doing, I reached out to the founder Graham Orr, and basically, what he has is a, um, to me it’s very unique. It is a CAD system… well, it is a… let me put it this way: it is a simulation system. It does computational fluid dynamics, finite elements, finite... what is known as FEM or FEA or CFD to people who are in that area. And what it allows you to do is… is… you know, so, most large engineering firms they’ll do this kind of simulation before they actually build stuff. The trick is that most of these large engineering firms… I mean, they’ve got very large budgets and they use very large machines to do this. What happened here is that because of what’s going on with GPUs, which has been, you know, graphics processing units, which has been happening I’d say for the past 10… 10 years, maybe a little bit more than 10 years, there’s a lot of new stuff that can be done in terms of physics computing. And what happened is that you’re, we’re now able to exploit that on a very small platform. Now, the impact of that is that what used to take a large engineering firm can now be done by a small engineering firm. Um, and you can get, because it’s a GPU rather than a normal CPU, you can get iterations through much, much faster. So, I’m sorta convinced that there’s a lot of… uh, a lot of stuff that has not been done in engineering, in engine technologies, for example, because people just have not had the tools. You put this kinda tool into the hands of… um, engineering entrepreneurs who understand the physics of engineering of these areas, we’re going to see a lot more innovation. So, even though we said earlier, that there is like 127 companies that are doing small satellite launches at this point, I think we can still have new generations that does even newer types of engines and the like. I’ll… I’ll leave it at that.
David Livingston: Uh, so, this gentleman was, had a booth next to Kim in the exhibit hall with his dad. Um, I talked to the dad more than I talked to the kid. And I can tell you that this was the one presentation of all of ‘em, that I, still today, have no idea what he’s talking about. [guest chuckling] And when he showed the video I had no idea what he was showing. I have never in my life been so lost with a technical presentation as I was with… I don’t know what he was doing. He, he’s so far out there. So…
Rick Kwan: Oh my!
David Livingston: Or maybe it’s just because I’m not in that field. But I couldn’t even… I mean, he showed the videos of what he was talking about and I couldn’t even visualize what he was showing in the video. I mean, to me, it was that advanced. And I wanted to put him on the show and I asked him, um, if he could do it so that listeners could understand what he’s talking about and I could actually do an interview, and, you know, he was being pulled every which way by everyone there, so we never got a chance to finish that discussion. But I do intend to follow up with him. Um, that’s pretty advanced stuff, Rick…
Rick Kwan: Yeah…
David Livingston: I mean, I think if I were rating “what’s the most advanced at Space Access” I’d put that as number 1.
Rick Kwan: Oh, really?
David Livingston: [OV] Yeah. I mean, but…
Kim Holder: [UI] [OV] [SL] I think I would put, uh…
Rick Kwan: [OV] Yeah, it is, um, I mean, to me it’s kinda, uh, it’s something that’s able to change the way we do engineering design and therefore the actual process of how you get rockets [SL] in line out. Um… it’s not… it’s not fully adapted… adopted by people yet. That’s kind of been one of the challenges that we’re up against.
David Livingston: But you have to be pretty far advanced to even understand his presentation, in my humble opinion. But… um…
Kim Holder: [OV] His pitch was towards the engineers, right?
Rick Kwan: [OV] Well, you have to be a serious engineer, yeah.
David Livingston: What Kim? Go ahead. Kim?
Kim Holder: He, his pitch was for the engineers in the crowd who need that service. So, he was kinda being the engineer’s engineer there. His… his, his business depends on doing modeling for people who are doing these, you know, these advanced new designs for new propulsion systems and new rockets. So…
David Livingston: So, people if you want to get an idea, he’s got videos, I believe he said, on his website. So, the company is “X”, “P”, “L”, “I”, “C” as in “Charlie”, “I”, “T” as in “Tom”, XPLICIT Computing. And you can probably get to their website. His name is Graham Orr: “G”, “A”, “R”... “G”, “R”, “A”, “H”, “A”, “M”, “O”, “R”, “R”. And you can, you can look at his demonstration videos and stuff, and, uh, you know, if you’re an engineer you might be very well at home with it. If you’re not, um... or if you’re just a basic engineer, maybe you won’t be at home with it either. But, uh, to me, that was like the ETs from intergalactic, interorbital space [guest chuckling] had landed and this is their new technology they’re sharing with us.