Thirty years of lost Chinese software, the dawn here is quiet

Thirty years of lost Chinese software, the dawn here is quiet

The cold arrow was released but it was subsidized by the state

At the end of July 2018, hundreds of electronic engineers were partying in San Francisco. The first summit of the “electronic Recovery Initiative ERI” led by the US Department of Defense kicked off here, and selected the first batch of shortlisted support projects for the “Electronic Recovery Five-Year Plan”.

Here, the most eye-catching is an electronic design software EDA company, on the one hand it has received the highest funding, on the other hand it is the only company in this category of support projects.

It is this CADENCE that took the lead in responding to the call of the US Department of Commerce in April, and issued a cold arrow to ZTE.

And this time, the American electronics design software giant has once again received a $24 million grant from the Department of Defense.

At this moment, ZTE has resumed production, and the chip ban has been lifted. In fact, few people know that although ZTE imports six or seven billion dollars of chips every year, if only millions of electronic design software on the purchase list are disabled, then tens of billions of chips are just silica.

That’s the power of Industrial software. This is the biggest shortcoming of China’s manufacturing industry.

When the goals of smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 are increasingly focused on digital design, digital factory and digital operation services,“Digital modeling and simulation” has once again become the brightest star behind all digital industries. The two most important software tools in the field of R&D and design, CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAE (Computer Aided Simulation), have become the most familiar, but now seem to be the most lame fields of informatization in China.

At this moment, we found that China’s achievements in the field of digital modeling and simulation are not worth mentioning compared with foreign industrial software.

What kind of history has China’s industrial design software gone through?

A tough start

In the early 1980s, the Chinese people’s knowledge of industrial software was almost zero. With the introduction of expensive IBM mainframes, VAX minicomputers, and Apolo workstations, as well as some CG and CAD software attached to them, industrial software can be regarded as emerging.

The first powerful research institutes or universities that can introduce these expensive computer hardware began the journey of imitating and developing industrial software.Of course, most of the software developed in the early days were two-dimensional CAD drawing software, and the units that could develop three-dimensional modeling software were two orders of magnitude less than the number of giant pandas.

There was a good little time. From the “Seventh Five-Year Plan” to the “Tenth Five-Year Plan” (1986-2005), the state has always supported domestic independent industrial software. Commission (Ministry of Science and Technology) “863/CIMS, Manufacturing Information Engineering”.

In the early days, the Ministry of Machinery and the State Science and Technology Commission focused on two-dimensional CAD.Later, it developed into a simple and practical “two throws”, namely throwing the drawing board and throwing the ledger.For the support of 2D CAD, which is not too technically difficult, some results have been achieved, and a number of software products such as Gaohua CAD, CAXA electronic board, Kaimu CAD, Zhejiang Datian CAD, and Shanda Huatian have appeared. Even in the field of 3D CAD, which is relatively difficult to develop, Beihang’s panda CAD system (later Honeysuckle) has also appeared.

Since then, the Ministry of Machinery gradually faded out of its support for CAD, and the Ministry of Science and Technology took over. At that time, the 863 project became famous, and the domestic CAX software company also made a lot of gains. The situation of Xiaoyangchun, a 2D CAD software, is about to emerge.

In the field of CAE, there has also been a good start with a hundred flowers blooming.Late 1980s. A group of universities and researchers, represented by Beihang University and Tsinghua University, started to develop related software. Among these people, Mr. Tang Rongxi, Mr. Sun Jiaguang, Mr. Liang Youdong and Mr. Zhou Rurong are the representatives, and they have become the first generation of domestic icons engaged in CAD software development. With the popularization of CAD/CAE software in the manufacturing industry, a number of colleges and universities such as Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, Huazhong Science and Technology, Dalian University of Technology, and a number of institutes such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Aeronautics and Astronautics have successively carried out independent research and development of CAD/CAE software, and achieved some The research results include Feijian from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zirui from Zhengzhou Institute of Machinery, JIFEX from Dalian Institute of Technology, APOLANS from AVIC, HAJIF and other commercialized and self-used software by large enterprises.

It was lively for a while.

A silent CAD adjustment package

From the “Tenth Five-Year Plan” and “Eleventh Five-Year Plan” period, the key support of the Ministry of Science and Technology for R&D and design software has been transferred to 3D CAD. After the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” (2011), China’s informatization began to take the road of integration of industrialization and industrialization. The work was transferred to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. 863 was merged into the national key scientific and technological research and development plan, and the Ministry of Science and Technology was no longer in charge of informatization. Work. This is an important watershed. Since the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology does not subsidize the research and development of industrial software that is considered to be a basic scientific research, the state’s capital investment in the research and development of 3D CAD has almost disappeared.

In terms of work in charge, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology cannot directly support the research and development of enterprises with funds. It can only support the informatization of enterprises through the integration of industrialization and industrialization, and provide subsidies to enterprises through pilot demonstrations and implementation of standards for industrialization and industrialization. The key support object is manufacturing. industrial enterprises. Domestic industrial software R&D companies are basically not supported directly, and they have become bitter children of “grandma doesn’t love uncle or uncle”. Stimulating the construction of informatization through enterprise application has promoted the popularization of informatization in the manufacturing industry and cultivated a group of talents. software.

From the perspective of the development of the CAD industry, it can be said that CAD has been silently transferred. Since then, in the past ten years, there has been almost no clear capital investment at the national ministries and commissions to support domestic independent CAD/CAE software.

In the book “Independent CAE Nirvana”, it is mentioned that in the 1980s, China’s CAE development was also its own. Ironically, with the development of CIMS in full swing, it is not the rise of independent industrial software, but the long-term drive of foreign industrial software, and the subsequent large-scale investment in the integration of industrialization and industrialization, foreign industrial software is more and more prosperous, at this time. It was just when 3D CAD began to flourish and CAE began to exert more force, while China’s independent software retreated step by step. In the high-end CAD field, PTC, UG (now belonging to Siemens), and CATIA have established a monopoly position, while the mid-to-low-end Solidworks, Autodesk, and SolidEdge are firmly in control. China’s CAD, CAE are collapsed. Taking CAE as an example, a flying arrow software was unique with its unique finite element simulation language. However, after years of seeking commercialization without success, although it has been renamed into Yuan Computing, it is still struggling embarrassingly, and good technologies are left in the cold storage.

In recent years, when Industry 4.0 has become the national business card of Germany, and intelligent manufacturing has reached the stage of a nationwide heat wave, people have re-recognized that industrial software plays a pivotal role in it. However, China once had CAD/CAE software that started to develop, but it has already fallen into the “lost thirty years”.

A small account of CAE R&D investment

With the mainstream development of the entire design and R&D digital technology turning to the integration of 3D CAD/CAE, the capital investment intensity of the entire industry on 3D CAD/CAE has been very low due to insufficient attention by the state. During the 15th and 11th Five-Year Plan period, the total investment in the research and development of 3D CAD software is about 40-50 million yuan. CAE mainly has some projects through the National Natural Science Foundation of China, which may be about 10 million yuan a year. investment weakness. Coupled with some indirect promotion of the integration of industrialization and industrialization in the 12th Five-Year Plan, it is estimated that in the three five-year plans, the state’s investment in the research and development of core industrial software such as 3D CAD/CAE is less than 200 million yuan.

Compared with the investment of foreign software manufacturers, these funds invested by the state can be directly crushed in an instant. Ansys, the world’s largest CAE simulation software company, invested US$350 million in R&D in 2016, or about 2 billion yuan.

The equation is this:

One year of R&D of a CAE company = 15 years of total investment of a country

In other words, the one-year R&D investment of a foreign CAE simulation software company is equivalent to 10 times the total investment of the Chinese government in the R&D of 3D CAD/CAE software in the three five-year plans (15th, 11th and 12th Five-Year Plan). Considering that this is a company’s concentrated investment for more than ten years, and the Chinese government project adopts a decentralized method of peppering, it highlights the huge difference in software investment between the United States and China.

An unsubmitted answer sheet

The national strategy of the United States has always regarded “digital modeling and simulation” as the core strategy. Almost every year in the United States, new reports are submitted to the top leaders of the United States, repeatedly emphasizing the technology of “modeling and simulation”. This has also received a positive response and general attention from the US government.

For decades, the American industry has never stopped shouting, nor has it stopped acting,From 1995 to accelerate the digital modeling and simulation innovation strategy, to the Bush report in 2005 to propose computational science, to 2009 to rely on modeling and simulation, to 2010 high-performance computing to talk about modeling and simulation, and now to advanced manufacturing Affiliate programs are built around a modular and open platform for tools. In 2014, the 11 key areas identified by the US President’s Council on Science and Technology have a score. According to indicators such as the impact on the country, visualization, informatization and digital manufacturing are one of the three key areas, which are all built around digital construction. model and simulation. In the latest US manufacturing innovation network NNMI, the two innovation centers most related to intelligent manufacturing are digital design and manufacturing, and intelligent manufacturing of clean energy. Whether it is led by the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy, it basically revolves around the core technology of digital modeling and simulation.

However, in China, the core independent industrial software has never received high-level attention.

Drawing on the report of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to the President’s Office, the Chinese Academy of Sciences once submitted a report to the State Council in 2006; then the Ministry of Science and Technology held a Xiangshan meeting, and the report was also submitted after the meeting, but basically all There is no following. In 2010, when the National Development and Reform Commission was making the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan”, it said that it would discuss the development of CAE, but it was not settled later. In the future, deputies to the National People’s Congress have made proposals and appeals, but high-level decision makers never seem to really think that the core independent industrial software is important.

Years passed in a flash, and this year, the ZTE incident accidentally opened a hole. The importance of chips, the importance of software, has finally become a black hole under the fresh saddle.

At this moment, we found out that the national report of independent CAD/CAE has never been taken seriously. This is “an answer sheet that has never been handed in”.

Unforgettable Industrial Misjudgment

The essence of industrial software is an industrial product.It has always been the crystallization of industry, not the product of IT.Industrial software is the crystallization of industrial knowledge and know-how accumulated for a long time in industrialization, and an indispensable companion of the industrialization process.In China, many times, it is simply considered to be more of an IT software attribute and develops together with other management software and even the internet. This is a huge misjudgment.

and,This misjudgment is a fatal mistake for the development of the manufacturing industry.Today, industrial giants such as Siemens, GE, and Schneider are desperately trying to acquire software to create a company that integrates software and hardware. Only in terms of the number of lines of code, the world’s largest software company is not Microsoft or SAP, but Lockheed Martin, a leader in manufacturing and the world’s largest arms dealer.

Today, almost every industrial product is the crystallization of industrial software, and every piece of equipment cannot run without the software.However, no one can tell exactly what is in each foreign industrial software. It’s a runaway digital world. The seemingly powerful “Made in China” is precisely standing at the top of the digital world of runaway industrial software.

For Chinese industry, industrial software is not only a short board, but a “broken” board, a “broken” board.

the dawn is quiet

With the in-depth development of digitization, networking and intelligence, China is rapidly transforming into intelligent manufacturing. China’s manufacturing industry lacks core industrial software, and it will be a sword of Damocles, hanging on the top of China’s manufacturing. Without the support of independent core industrial software, China’s manufacturing power can only be a dream.

At the moment, the entire industry is in terrible silence.When many people are addicted to the industrial Internet, artificial intelligence, and big data to promote the transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry, no one realizes that if these concepts are stripped of layers of clothes, the core is industrial software. What’s more terrifying is that people don’t even have the strength to shout. The development of independent high-end CAD and CAE software has become an impossible thing in people’s minds.

In the US Electronic Revival Program ERI, industrial design software is still a solid beneficiary. According to the official data of DARPA, the US Defense Advanced Research Agency, in the 2018 fiscal year, there will be 216 million US dollars of funds flowing into the Electronic Resurgence Program. At the aforementioned summit, Synopsys, the three giants of the world’s electronic design software EDA, also received $6.1 million.

The US state’s support for software is straightforward.

In China, everything is silent.

The dawn of industrial software is silent and the sun does not rise.

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Published on 01/03/2023