PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (July 25, 2013) -- By using software "extensions," scientists and engineers at Picatinny Arsenal now have a tool that transforms complex modeling and simulation programs into easy-to-learn software.

The result is hybrid software extensions that breathe new life into user communities that now rely on small circles of advanced "power" users.

The hybrid software also allows the government to decrease its dependence on commercial modeling and simulation programs by reducing the time it takes engineers to master software already owned by the government. This translates into potential time and money savings as government-owned codes, available at little or no cost, are increasingly used and effective.

The ability to reduce the complexity of software is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny and software developer ANSYS, Inc.

The partners build customized extensions, or links, between powerful government modeling and simulation programs and a commercially available user-friendly interface.

"This has never been done before," said Robert Terhune, the ARDEC liaison to ANSYS. "ARDEC and ANSYS are filling a usability gap in a novel and very successful manner. The government has developed great solvers, but usability has always been a challenge…until ADAPT."

The linking software is known as the ARDEC/ANSYS Developed Analysis Preprocessing Tool, or "ADAPT," and was first demonstrated with in-house modeling and simulation software maintained by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory known as ALE3D.

Initial users of the ADAPT -- ALE3D extension have been impressed with the ease of use. This positive feedback means ADAPT will soon link with a second simulation code known as Sierra/Solid Mechanics to create a single user-interface that combines the operation of several government simulation programs.

The ADAPT extension uses ANSYS' commercial interface to initially build and "pre-process" a computer model until it is completely ready for analysis, then exports that model directly to the government modeling and simulation program.

Using the ADAPT workflow for ALE3D analysis generation is easy to learn for new and occasional users, but powerful enough for advanced users. ADAPT will greatly increase accessibility and expand the user community.

ADAPT-ALE3D was released with the latest version of ALE3D in April 2013, making the tool available for all ALE3D users. The tool has government-wide applications. It is available for use to all scientists and engineers of ARDEC, Department of Energy, and Department of Defense.

There has been extensive effort put into the government codes and the ADAPT extension enhances their effectiveness.

The use of ADAPT will change how modeling and simulation software is used while improving the support for defense programs that benefit the Warfighter.