Monday, 26 December 2011

ME, SCYLLA AND ERCAD IN NEW SUNDAY TIMES

Scylla Operation, ERCAD and I were in the News Sunday Times last sunday (25th December). Below is the newspaper cutting and beneath it is the article which I cut and paste for your reading (only if you are interested, of course).



ENGINEERING fields of today have gone through drastic changes due to the revolution of IT and computer technology. While having theoretical background of engineering disciplines is still vital to an engineer, the application of computer technology especially in the analysis and design works has become a compulsory skill that must be possessed by a practicing engineer.


Malaysian students and universities are having difficulty in buying commercial software as it is very expensive because it is foreign-made. Because of this, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) with the collaboration of KPERAK INC, CREAM-CIDB and Scylla Operation Sdn Bhd have successfully produced an engineering software called Educational Reinforced Concrete Analysis and Design or ERCAD.


It is recognised as Malaysia's first homegrown software because the source codes were fully written by local experts comprising of UTM scholars and programmers from Scylla Operation, a Malaysian company that specialises in engineering software development.


In addition, it is the first software that is tailored to suit the civil engineering teaching and learning environment and its creation was led by Dr Airil Yasreen Mohd Yassin, a senior lecturer and research fellow at Steel Technology Centre (STC), Faculty of Civil Engineering (FKA).


The software automates the analysis and design of low and medium rise reinforced concrete building, utilising the finite element method for the analysis and BS 8110 for the design procedures. The development of the ERCAD software has seen the involvement of 10 UTM academicians comprising professors, associate professors, senior lecturers and a tutor.


HOW IT BEGAN: The history of the software development goes back to 2007 when CREAM-CIDB funded a research project at UTM. The project's objective was to produce software for the design of Industrialised Building System. The initial software was then named Automated and Integrated Design of IBS or AID-IBS in short.


Towards the end of the research duration, the commercial potential of the work was identified by KPERAK INC, a non-profit agency established by the Perak State Government, which then funded the pre-commercialisation of the software. Due to sales and marketing strategies, the focus of the development shifted, however, towards reinforced concrete building and as a result, the software was renamed ERCAD.


On the involvement of Scylla Operation Sdn Bhd, the company's establishment was a natural evolution and the byproduct of the research project. The company is owned by a group of UTM alumni who originally worked on the research to develop the software. The establishment of the company is in line with Malaysia's higher education agenda that is to instill entrepreneurship in university education as well to ensure the continuity of the research work.


AS GOOD AS FOREIGN-MADE SOFTWARE: In ensuring the quality of the software especially in terms of the performance and functionality so as to meet not only educational but industrial demands and needs, the development of the software was benchmarked against established foreign software.


The software has also been sent for beta-testing or a trial-run at an established local civil engineering consulting firm and is continuously monitored by experts from several higher learning institutes who have been appointed as external reviewers. The software has also been demonstrated at Jabatan Pengajian Tinggi (JPT), Malaysia and obtained full support from the ministry. ERCAD has also been demonstrated to many stakeholders such as Jabatan Kerja Raya for continual improvement.


Since the objective of the project is to produce software that is equivalent in performance but cheaper in price, ERCAD is provided at a very low price. Based on a selection of product packages and pricing, ERCAD can be purchased by a student at a low price of RM100 and this is very affordable compared to established foreign software which would cost more than RM50,000 for a standalone version.


ACCESIBILITY: Affordable software is very much needed because current practice requires students to queue-up to get access to the software which is usually installed as a network version at a faculty or department's computer lab.


In contrast, ERCAD allows civil engineering students to use the software anywhere and anytime since it is installed in individual computers. ERCAD can also assist civil engineering faculties and departments in the EAC-BEM accreditation since inclusion of computer aided engineering (CAE) in the engineering syllabus has become one of the accreditation criteria.


The software has entered the commercialisation stage where road shows are currently conducted around the countries and thus far the response has been very welcoming and encouraging. Sales promotion activities have also been conducted at 10 national universities and more than 180 units have been sold since it was launched three months ago.


More information can be obtained from Dr Airil Yasreen ayasreen@ utm.my or visit Scylla Operation's website scyllaoperation.com.

9 comments:

MFTAQIYUDDIN said...

Congratulation.

Dr. Ben said...

tahniah bro. You deserved it. More power to differential equations ;)!!!

Airilsametok said...

Thanks MFTAQIYUDDIN and Dr. Ben.

Dr. Ben, meh la beli tolong kawan2...hehe

VoiceOut said...

Tahniah, ini yg Malaysia perlukan. Kenapa tidak open source sahaja instead kenakan caj minimum supaya masyarakat mendapat manfaat. Ataupun release software kepada 2 version satu open source satu license. Open source dgn certain limitation dan license yg complete version.

japar said...

congrats...very proud of you...aku ada satu benda nak tanya kat engko...tapi ini mungkin di luar bidang engko doc..."penggabungjalinan pembelajaran formal,bukan formal & tidak formal apabila dihubungkaitkan dgn teori pembelajaran dapat membentuk pelajara yang berkesan,bagaimana hendak digabungkan dan apakah kesan serta merta dankesan jangka panjang ?" Hope to get ur view soon...

japar said...

aku rasa dr pernah dengar "Analisis Laluan Kritikal"...(actually this is my assignment i have to pass up soon)...aku kurang clear pulak dgn benda nih...bole tolong ?

Airilsametok said...

Japar: technical giler soalan ko. ko nak aku buat assignment tk ko ke aper?..hahaha

Boble said...

Tahniah Dr Airil aka Len. Good job bro.

Airilsametok said...

Thanks Boble, Ble tolong cari line utk promote ERCAD ni kt universiti2 Ireland boleh? Nanti profit kita tong tong la...haha