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The simulation tool is a black box.

So we have the black box, the ANSYS tool in our case.


This discussion, though, applies to any comparable simulation tool.
We give it user inputs, typically geometry, mesh, boundary
conditions, material properties.
Turn the crank, and we get the results.
These are color pictures, and you also have other results.
The color pictures are the most seductive part of the results.
For instance, you might want to show it to your boss and try to get a raise.
However, if you don't know what's happening under the black box,
then those color pictures can be wrong or not very meaningful,
and you also are accepting results at face value.
Employers are telling us that this a continuing
problem, that they hire students who know how to push the buttons,
but they are accepting results at face value,
and that's not quite what they want to see.
So if you don't know what's happening under the black box,
this process looks like garbage in, turn the crank, garbage out.
And how do we move beyond this black box approach to simulations?
For that, we need to understand what's under the black box.
Let's talk about that next.