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RE: Structural Analysis Software for New One-Man Firm

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The other year someone from RISA mentioned on the SEAint list that they were
developing a sparse matrix solver. For commercial software I would have
thought they had that already. Also if they started in the world of DOS as
Bill says, then they most definitely should have been using banded and
sparse matrix solvers, in the first place, and other similar methods to
reduce the amount of wasted memory, and manage matrix between harddisk and

Starting development with windows just means can be somewhat lazy about
memory management, because it handles swapfiles for you. However swap files
only deal with the size of the model. As I understand it banded matrices and
sparse matrix solvers, don't waste time processing elements of a matrix
which have starting values of zero, nor are they stored. They can solve
faster and deal with larger models using less RAM, and fewer calls to a swap

It has also been noted by some commentators that Microsoft Visual Studios,
automation tools is developing bad programming habits, and resulting in
bloated programs.

MS Windows has little to do with the speed of the software: it is adequate
knowledge of computer science and abstract data structures, and using
appropriate techniques to solve the large systems of equations. And a lot of
the original software was written by engineers using standard function
libraries, and with no knowledge of computer science. It also seems that
engineers waste their time re-inventing the wheel when it comes to solving
networks and the likes: so programs for analysis of structures and pipe
networks are written using all kinds of cumbersome fortran code. So some of
these engineering software companies really should get some computer
scientists on staff.

Conrad Harrison
B.Tech (mfg & mech), MIIE, gradTIEAust
South Australia



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