St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk, Russia: 18 November 2013 – ASCON, the leading Russian CAD/AEC/PLM vendor and developer of KOMPAS-3D modeling software, and LEDAS Ltd., the leading service provider in the field of engineering software development, today jointly announced their cooperation in researching and developing innovative geometry search technology.
The primary idea behind the technology is an easy-to-use tool for reusing existing geometry in the design process. ASCON invited LEDAS to join its R&D team for the new project, a move that continues the strand of technological cooperation between the two companies. (Previously, LEDAS adapted Variational Direct Modeling technology to ASCON's KOMPAS-3D software.)
“ASCON is a well-recognized name in the MCAD and AEC markets, both of which are targeted by our products,” said Vladimir Zaharov, head of ASCON's AEC division. “Our new geometry search technology is addressed primarily at AEC, because it is characterized by more regular geometrical forms and bigger data volumes than MCAD."
Searching for 2D and 3D GeometryTechnically, geometry search is done at several levels. At the simple level, it searches for text labels in geometry, while at the advanced level it analyzes the actual elements of geometry. Text search had already been implemented by ASCON, while geometry search is now being developed in partnership with LEDAS. The geometry search project began in July and by October the first working prototype was ready.
“A user need draw a conceptual sketch of only a few lines of a construction joint, and system will return results that contain such types of joints,” explained Dmitry Poskrebyshev, the lead analyst on the ASCON geometry search team. “Of course, this is not the only use case to benefit from our search function."
ASCON and LEDAS consider their geometry search engine as the base for technology that could be used in a number of other contexts -- just as Web search is used in a variety of ways today. The companies feel that their technology has the potential to grow a completely new generation of PDM/PLM software.
“Geometry search is in my opinion one of the biggest challenges in engineering software today,” said Alexey Ershov, CEO of LEDAS. “It is one of those rare things that is so innovative that I feel amazed to be working on it. Indeed, 2D geometry search is just a first step, with 3D search the really big next thing for our industry."
Facing this tremendous technological challenge, LEDAS together with ASCON are keeping in mind that they need to shape the technology for the needs of actual product use cases.
How Geometry Search Works“The technology behind geometric search is a mixture of general-purpose methods and special routines that take advantage of design standards like GOST and ISO,” explained Vladimir Sidorov, tech lead of the LEDAS team.
The search process is separated into two parts: firstly, the skeleton of the geometry is recognized for each part, and then is stored in a special internal format optimized for search. Secondly, the skeleton of a user's sketch is compared in an efficient manner with the collection of previously recognized skeletons.
The most complicated part is the first one. It is recognition technology that uses artificial intelligence. LEDAS was originally created as a spin-off of an artificial intelligence lab, and so it makes sense for the firm to be involved in this advanced project.