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Hi, I’m Joshua Strodtbeck, and I’m a Product Management Director at Cadence Design Systems and I do product management for Fidelity CFD. I first dipped my toes in industrial CFD at Rolls-Royce in 2006, when I did an LES simulation as an intern, and I’ve been growing professionally in this space ever since. I started my professional career as a developer at Convergent Science, where I eventually got to work on prototypes for what became CONVERGE 3.0. I then joined the HPC team at Siemens, where I primarily worked on improving the performance of parallel meshing until I made the jump to product management in early 2021. I’m looking forward to the challenge of turning Fidelity into a major brand in this space.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing CFD in the next five years?
Very few things in physical reality are actually steady-state. Wheels move, turbines spin, valves open and close, airfoils flex, and so on - the list of things that move is far longer than the list of things that don’t! Delivering fast, complex simulations is hard enough and making them easy to set up is even harder. Today’s CFD engineers want to explore large design spaces with increasingly complex, realistic simulations, and making that happen is going to be a massive challenge.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve only been here for a few months, so I’m still learning the ropes at Cadence. The biggest thing I’m working on now is building official relationships with platform providers. I had some great relationships with people at various computer companies at my past job, and I hope to be showing off Fidelity benchmarks soon.
What project are you most proud of and why?
That one’s easy – assembling a team to work on what became CONVERGE 3.0 at Convergent Science. I learned how to find people who had skills I didn’t have, empower them to do their best work, and trust them to do things that I, personally, didn’t know how to do. That product came out a couple years after I left CSI, and those guys did great things. It was also a huge turning point for me. I discovered that I enjoyed enabling a team to do great technical work more than I enjoyed the technical work itself.
Are you reading any interesting technical papers we should know about?
I’m picking through a paper on implicit filtering to remember how I did something a decade ago. Grad Student Josh knew a lot more math than Product Manager Josh.
What software or tools do you use every day?
The Microsoft usual enterprise suite - Office, Outlook, and Teams. I always liked VS Code as a developer, but I don’t code anymore.
What does your workspace look like?
What do you do outside the world of CFD?
My main hobby is playing tabletop games with a group of friends here in Austin. Dragon-infested dungeons may or may not be invaded on any given night. I think in this era of online, screen-driven everything, it’s easy to forget how much fun it is to socialize with people in real life. Rolling dice and stealing loot from trolls is as good a reason to do that as any. It’s also a nice mental break from talking about benchmarks and bugs.
What is some of the best CFD advice you've received?
I was once told that industrial customers are going to run with the coarsest meshes, lowest precision, loosest tolerances, and simplest models they can get away with and still get a useful answer. Everything you learned about CFD in academia has to be unlearned in industry.
If you got to choose, where would you and I go for dinner?
Mi Tradicion Panaderia is a restaurant and bakery that serves the best Mexican food in Austin. I highly recommend the huaraches, and don’t forget to fill a bag with pastries before you go home.
John C: You had me at pastries. Let's agree on that very soon. We will share a meal there.