Executive Insights

2020 Altair Technology Conference: Envisioning the Future

By Jim Scapa | Chairman and Chief Executive Officer | October 29, 2020

One of the core pillars of Altair is envisioning the future, and those aren’t just words – we aggressively invest in the future. Sometimes we fail, but we embrace those lessons as they are invaluable in helping us to get it right. Since I founded Altair 35 years ago, envisioning the future has been a guiding light.
This year, we wanted to bring that core value to life in our annual global technology conference (ATC), by gathering the top minds in fields from robotics, academia, artificial intelligence (AI), data science, simulation, and high-performance computing (HPC) – to name just a few. No one was selling software. We simply wanted to create a platform to engage in intelligent conversation and thought-provoking ideas about the future; like empathic AI and thinking about diversity when writing code.

Of course, this was a virtual event, with attendees from 121 countries around the world, 2,500 companies of all sizes, students, engineers, designers, data scientists, and curious minds. More than half of the attendees were new to Altair. After the sessions, we hosted chat rooms and I found the conversations to be insightful and lively. The students, both high-school and university, asked such intelligent questions – I was thrilled to see their level of engagement. They took advantage of the opportunity to talk with the leading minds at the forefront of innovation, which is smart because the future will be in their hands.

We are at an exciting time in the field of technology because of one word; convergence. Once separate, stand-alone fields of technology are now converging. Take data science, simulation and HPC. Historically, they were run by different teams, with different training and backgrounds, and used by companies or research universities with large budgets and staff. All that technology is being not only democratized, but it’s converging to unleash never seen before insights.
Let me try to explain; solvers are incredibly sophisticated mathematically based algorithms that help solve crazy hard problems. They can simulate just about anything in a virtual environment. To run those solvers, you need massive computing power and speed, which is where HPC comes in. As we overlay AI and machine learning (ML), that’s when incredibly valuable insights are delivered, which fuel critical decisions across all realms, from healthcare and finance to manufacturing, education, agriculture, and life science. The integration of technology gives life to breakthroughs that will help the world in countless ways; from predicting catastrophic storms to emissions reductions, and life-saving medical discoveries. And this convergence makes a massive exploration of ideas possible.

I was inspired listening to the ATC speakers. If you haven’t already – I encourage you to listen or watch – it’s free and open to all. Here are some of my favorites:

The future belongs to all of us. Perhaps one of these presentations will spark an idea for you.