Consortiums seek to develop standards for benchmarks, algorithms

Austin, TX; Dedham, MA—Recent efforts by two organizations are striving to develop performance standards to promote quality, flexibility, and portability. The Numerical Mathematics Consortium is working to establish an open mathematical semantics standard for numerical algorithm development. In another area, ARC Advisory Group and process-industry manufacturers are seeking to establish common metrics for benchmarking performance and practices.

08/23/2005


Austin, TX; Dedham, MA—Recent efforts by two organizations are striving to develop performance standards to promote quality, flexibility, and portability. The Numerical Mathematics Consortium is working to establish an open mathematical semantics standard for numerical algorithm development. In another area, ARC Advisory Group and process-industry manufacturers are seeking to establish common metrics for benchmarking performance and practices.

Mathematics software vendors and representatives from industry and academia are working together to define a consistent and manageable foundation for numerical programming, the Numerical Mathematics Consortium announced. NMC said it is committed to establishing an open mathematical semantics standard for numerical algorithm development to enable portability and reuse among tools, platforms, and disciplines.

Founding companies of the consortium established the organization to create a standard specification for numeric mathematics that ensures algorithm portability and reuse across platforms and applications. The goal is to formulate a specification that defines core mathematical function definitions applicable to numeric algorithms that can then be implemented in such areas as industrial control and embedded design and shared more easily among researchers and developers in industry.

'Our industry has been lacking a unified and standardized mathematical foundation for a long time,' said Ali Maleki, Brake and Chassis Electronics program manager at ArvinMeritor , a supplier of systems, modules, and components to the motor vehicle industry. 'Today, each tool offers its own specific set of functions with often steep learning curves, which require us to develop algorithms and skills not easily portable across the industry. These algorithms must be rewritten with new projects and new technologies, which ultimately drive our costs higher. A standard set of mathematical functions based on industry-accepted semantics would go a long way in creating portable skills and off-the-shelf libraries and tools that would be plug-and-play in various environments and help our bottom line.'

Founding members of the consortium include INRIA (Scilab Publisher) , Maplesoft , Mathsoft , and National Instruments .

In another consortium effort, ARC Advisory Group and some 40 process-industry manufacturers are working to establish common metrics for benchmarking performance and practices for automation control and related maintenance assets and resources. Benchmarking plant performance against others yields specific data on the success of automation strategies, determines whether needed ROI is being reached, and identifies where and how to strategies and investments can be improved in the future. It is part of an ongoing effort to achieve operational excellence and continuous improvement.

Organized initially in January 2005, the consortium has created several working groups representing 16 companies and already identified 18 metrics. It has also created related collection and calculation methods to be used to ensure comparability of the metrics when displayed together for benchmarking purposes. The group plans to introduce new metrics every year and improve existing metrics as experience on collection and calculation methods is gained.

The group seeks to grow the consortium with participation by companies from the oil, gas, and refining; chemicals; pulp and paper; and life sciences industries. These companies would share actual plant data on specific metrics in return for receiving comparable data on the same metric from others in the industry. Each working group member is expected to contribute by attending monthly meetings and individual team meetings as required. For more on participating, email John Wason at jwason@arcweb.com .

Control Engineering Daily News Desk,
Jeanine Katzel, senior editor
jkatzel@reedbusiness.com





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