Silicom’s customer projects may start with a software survey, which aims at finding a match between customers’ needs and software capabilities. In the survey, Silicom as a software-independent actor, analyzes physical and numerical tools available in the software, usability, computer-architecture dependencies, software performance, accuracy, and pricing/licensing.
Customer requirements culminate, among others, in the following:
- Physical tools in crystal growth: 2D (axi-symmetric)/3D, steady/transient, heat transfer (conduction, convection, radiation (both opaque and transparent)), fluid flow (compressible gas flow, incompressible melt flow, laminar/turbulent flows), magnetic field, free boundaries (crystal-melt, melt-gas, melt-melt), and species transportation
- Usability: Graphical user interface, visualization tools, interfaces to other software, documentation, FAQ/user communities, level of software support
- Pricing/licensing: Fees for annual/life-time licenses, pricing/processor, pricing/software modules
- Computer architectures: Usage on Windows and Linux
- Numerical tools: Solvers (direct and iterative solvers, preconditioning, adaptivity, multigrid) and coupling techniques (coupling between physical solvers, coupling of local-global geometries)
- Software performance and accuracy: Efficiency of numerical solvers and coupling techniques, parallelization
Based on the survey results, Silicom’s customers have selected the best suited software for their needs, and Silicom has assisted in the utilization of the software in crystal growth development activities. The list of utilized software covers, for instance, CFD-ACE, CGSim, Elmer and COMSOL Multiphysics.
Among Silicom’s customers, the trend towards open-source software in crystal growth is obvious. In open source software, our customers value
- Possibility to include more complicated physical mechanisms in crystal growth modeling, e.g., 3D magnetic fields, besides basic phenomena
- Access to source codes and self-tailored user interfaces
- Cost savings: No annual license fees
- Access to multiple simultaneous simulations: Typically the usage of a commercial software is limited to a some number of processors, i.e., only some simultaneous simulations are possible, if extra fee is not paid.
- Parallelization and operating system independent software: Software should run more on Linux
- Advanced numerical tools: Fixed grid methods besides moving grid methods, adaptivity