By Bruce Jenkins, Ora Research
In February 2016 ESI Group acquired big-data visual analytics and machine learning specialist Mineset Inc. from SGI, terming the move a “disruptive approach to amplify ESI Group’s virtual engineering solutions, providing transformative processes for design and manufacturing, leveraging big-data synergies with existing virtual prototyping technologies, and offering major analytics and pattern recognition value-creation opportunities.”
ESI MINESET. Source: ESI Group
ESI Group chairman and CEO Alain de Rouvray commented, “This acquisition complements the recent integration of Picviz Labs (now ‘INENDI’) and its technology for big-data mining. Combining INENDI’s data correlation detection with Mineset’s pattern recognition, and linking both to ESI Group’s virtual prototyping solutions, provides a new transformative process and source of value creation, particularly in the traditional virtual engineering domain.”
de Rouvray continued, “While the exponential growth of the Information and Communication Technologies (‘ICT’) finds an accelerated usage in all economic domains, it also generates massive amounts of data (‘big data’). This trend imposes a critical pressure on industrialists confronted with the need to link virtual simulation models to the real-world data of the Internet of Things (‘IoT’). To innovate effectively and competitively, it has become mandatory to generate a multitude of virtual models, and to compare them between themselves and versus real-world information. Making immediate sense of the exponential flux of big data has become an imperative.”
He concluded, “This is well aligned with the motivation for the disruptive value potential that ESI is now poised to offer in response to the requests of its customers and partners. This combination of talent and technology, building on other recent acquisitions, will contribute to revolutionize the field of simulation results analytics, with extensions such as predictive maintenance and cybersecurity. We trust that it will position ESI to usher in with confidence the age of the Internet of Everything (‘IoE’).”
Milpitas, CA-based Mineset was a subsidiary of Silicon Graphics International Corp.(SGI), the global provider in high-performance solutions for computing, data analytics and data management. Mineset’s team of world-class experts has developed a visual analytics platform that tightly integrates advanced visualization with machine learning technology. Available through an easy-to-use, cloud-based web browser interface, the product has been specifically designed for non-programming professionals in order to efficiently address the broadest possible user base.
Transformative potential for product engineering, manufacturing, service/maintenance
Mineset’s technology, which features an intuitive user interface for human-in-the-loop iterative analytics, will be integrated within ESI Group’s overall Virtual Engineering offering, and adapted to each specific application in the product development process. To enable greatly improved decision making, ESI Group is integrating Mineset’s capabilities for big-data analytics, pattern recognition and machine learning with its existing solutions to provide new capabilities in simulation result analysis, discovery of hidden correlations, fault detection, predictive maintenance and design optimization. Its goal is to enable delivery of better simulation and modeling results, and thus shorter product development schedules and reduced product maintenance and downtime.
Synergies with ESI Group virtual performance engineering technologies
Mineset’s advanced visual analytics platform directly complements ESI Group’s product offering that resulted from its acquisition of PicViz Labs in 2015. Now branded INENDI (“INvestigate, ENvision and DIscover the unknown”), that technology provides applies pattern recognition to virtual engineering, cybersecurity and IoT solutions. Disruptive applications such as ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and autonomous vehicles are typical and promising use cases. ESI Group strongly believes those segments offer it a large new market opportunity, especially in the U.S., where Mineset’s technology is already well recognized.
“Mineset technology was developed with the vision to further data analytics and visualization with machine learning,” said SGI president and CEO Jorge Titinger when the transaction was announced. “We are excited to see ESI Group take this technology to the next level, delivering transformational solutions to help customers design better products and further machine learning.”
Major value creation opportunities in analytics and pattern recognition
ESI directly acquired 100% of Mineset Inc.’s capital and its entire development team of ten experts. It said the transaction would “offer a substantial return on investment in the midterm, through the enhancement of ESI’s Virtual Engineering solutions with machine-learning based capabilities to foster knowledge discovery, reliable model based prediction, and confident decision making.” The deal was financed entirely with bank debt.
ESI MINESET Predictive Analytics Solution
ESI MINESET Predictive Analytics Solution enables interactive exploration of data through an advanced suite of visual tools designed to enable faster discovery of meaningful trends and cause-effect relationships. Fully accessible through a web browser under a variety of pricing plans, the solution includes integrated visualization and machine learning (ML) algorithms with collaboration capabilities.
Design space exploration with ESI MINESET. Source: ESI Group
MINESET helps users understand their data, discover patterns in it, predict outcomes and prescribe actions. It is specifically designed to let users with no background in data science quickly and easily discern and comprehend relationships inherent in their data, and create actionable insights. Engineers can use MINESET as an advanced post-processor of simulation results to understand the interplay among input and output variables for improved simulation problem setup and results analysis and understanding.
- Visualization—MINESET enables interactive exploration of data through an advanced suite of visual tools for faster discovery of meaningful trends and relationships. Synchronized drill-through techniques reveal patterns over critical dimensions such as time. Visualization capabilities include a variety of plotting and charting options; visualization as the user interface for machine learning models; and interactive and cross-visualization highlighting, selecting and filtering.
- Analysis and machine learning—Running behind the elegant user interfaces of the visual tools, powerful analytic data mining algorithms build comprehensive models. The company says MINESET solutions are designed to “put the user in the driver seat for the human-in-the-loop iterative analytics process.”
- Design space exploration—ESI MINESET brings the power of artificial intelligence into the hands of engineers as an optimization and simulation data post-processing and analysis aid. The visual analytics options presented by ESI MINESET allow users to reveal relationships among input factors and their effects on response variables, and rapidly explore the effects of design alternatives. It can reveal which inputs have the largest influence on the response variable, quantify the impact of the parameter values on the overall outcome, characterize the input variables leading to either positive or negative outcomes, and provide a holistic and integrated view of any and all stages of the product development process.
- Sharing—To support and foster collaboration, ESI MINESET offers several sharing options. Multiple users can view the same dataset, interact with the same visualizations, and create annotated stories based on individual visualizations. MINESET also offers read-only versions of the visuals that can be shared with anyone. Visualizations, selections and models are automatically saved until the next login.
For customers who prefer the convenience of instant access and deployment, the ESI Cloud hosts the MINESET application with subscription-based pricing. Otherwise, for companies with tight security considerations and large data needs, on-premise (private cloud) installations with annual licensing models are offered for Linux-based servers. Mineset’s big-data solution is based on Spark for data transformations, calculations, aggregations and machine learning results.