The Leap Cad System –
A New Paradigm for Innovation
Proposal to develop and implement a structured high level integrated Knowledge Based System for the investigation, innovation, and assessment of energy technologies
The Leap Cad System Concept consists of an Integrated Environment of a Model Library, Virtual Laboratory, and high level multi-disciplinary innovation tool set, for the creation, facilitation, and optimization of energy technologies.
Energy is a vital and foundational technology that is related to the growth and cost of other key technologies, the global environment, and national defense and security. Energy enables homes, schools, factories, businesses, airports, hospitals, computers, and the internet to function. It is a prerequisite to human and technical development and its national usage is directly related to the UN’s Human Development Index.
In some arenas, energy limits, usage, and its consequences are approaching the scope of a planetary emergency. Energy technologies are of such vital global and national importance that logic dictates that we employ all of the best available tools and research methodologies for its development. There has been an explosive growth in knowledge systems, information technologies, and innovation research methods since the 1980s. Application of these higher level methodologies to facilitate innovation of energy technologies should be a priority.
We propose to develop a prototype for a higher level innovation system, the Leap Cad System. The system consists of four elements: an database of compact analytic models for leading edge research from a broad spectrum of renewable energy and green technologies and other disciplines, a laboratory for the exploration of models related to concepts and ideas, an integrated system for the application of high level Knowledge Science and Breakthrough innovation tools, and an evolution component for the continued collaborative development of the system. The goal of the system is application to “low hanging fruit”, that is, those innovations most amenable to the Leap Cad System approach.
The compact analytic model library is for the development of concepts and ideas, not for detailed product design. Product design usually requires finite element simulation tools to define precise geometries and material properties of the technology or product. Our intent is to examine synergies across a broad range of areas. Thus we use analytic models which offer greater flexibility and ease to integrate with other technology arenas. We use the term compact to mean models that do not require many data points. This is not a precise term, but for our purposes we will define a compact model as one that requires less than 5,000 data or grid points. The models are to be extracted into a common framework of re-usable scripts such as Mathcad, MatLab,or Mathematica. Mathcad, which uses a natural math notation, is preferred.
Ever since the oil embargo of October 1973, every president since Nixon has had a national goal of oil energy independence. However, despite the US government spending over 100 $billion in programs, energy independence is still a distant goal (see Appendix). We clearly need to be more innovative and effective in this pursuit. Because of the global increase in demand and falling supplies, this may be our last chance. We have to use every tool and muster every possible advantage available to make certain we back the best technology. If we make the wrong choice there may not be enough crude oil left in the ground for a second chance. These are complex issues – political will is not enough to assure success. And paradoxically, because of global use, we have to make the right technology available for our global competitors. That is, we can achieve national oil independence, but if global demand from China, India, and Russia is not abated, costs will still skyrocket and carbon will still be pumped into the air.
Most productivity growth comes not by working harder but smarter. Innovation is now responsible for up to one half of the growth of the US economy. We need to systematize the field of innovation. We need to add a scientific component to the art of innovation. We need to be able to produce an innovation or a series of inventions as required so we may continually reinvent our product portfolio. But it's also necessary to identify the structure that will make innovation repeatable and predictable.
Traditional Research Methodology Versus Synthesis
Most research is of the deep silo variety, that is, it is focused on a single topic and may spring from subject matter experts limited to a single area of expertise. Most problem solving uses the direct, heads-on, approach. Generally, innovation springs from ad hoc, “shoot from the hip” methods. Project, time, and cost pressures do not allow the optimum attack of the problem. However, research shows that most innovation comes from the synergy of a lateral synthesis of diverse ideas. Indeed, a recent article by six leading physicists in Physics World, states that research “traditionally involved finding new sources of energy or discovering new materials, but now the focus of the questions is slowly shifting towards increasingly interdisciplinary problems at the boundary of physics.” In general, innovation springs from an unstructured process, i.e. it does not come from a structured application of Knowledge Science.
A Knowledge Science Based, Structured Solution
The Leap Cad System is a structured, expert/model mining, high level development system, that was created to leap beyond these limitations. The LCS has been created to apply a structured approach of multi-disciplinary knowledge methodologies to energy innovation.
The Leap Cad System provides a means to lower the barrier and broaden the base for technical innovation in energy. Barriers often have an exponential type of effect on results. That is, raising the barrier just slightly often causes a huge reduction in results. Conversely, lowering a barrier slightly may provide a tremendous increase to accessibility.
The implementation goal of the Leap Cad System is to foster the development of 300 analytic models from a broad spectrum of leading edge research, a number sufficient to achieve a “critical mass” for collaborative development and diffusion of the system. It is believed that this will be sufficient to achieve a 20% reduction in development time of an area of emerging energy technology. This methodology is not a panacea. The intent is to apply it to pluck the “low hanging fruit”, that is, to those research areas most amenable to the application of this system. The Leap Cad System is based on a combination of four main strategies:
New Paradigm for Energy Innovation: The Leap Cad System Concept
The Leap Cad System consists of four elements:
I. Creation of a high level conceptual Analytic/Model Library. An energy related knowledge infrastructure.
A. Determine the leading edge priority areas of research (See Appendix: I.)
1. Extensible to other promising areas of research
B. Expert/Model mining of priority leading edge research
1. Abstract the essence of the leading edge research analytic models
2. Compact analytic model equations
C. Use mathematical scripts (Mathcad, MatLab, Mathematica, etc.)
1. Tutorial format - Pedagogy
2. Reproduce results of research papers: Tables, graphs
3. Reusability – apply to novel situations
4. “Live” Equations – allows generation of new models, conditions, graphs
5. Models are for conceptual development and not detailed product development
II. Virtual Laboratory for the investigation and interplay of models –
Integrated Software Environment
A. Interplay of parameters of model library.
B. Material Science models of material used in energy research
1. A common database of material science properties
2. Linkable to external simulation models
C. Incorporate associated product, environmental, societal cost analysis
1. Database of energy data
D. Venture Capital Analysis/Assessment tools and criteria.
1. Incorporate live financial and energy sectors data
2. Database of relevant financial data
III. Software tools to apply integrated Knowledge Age Tools and meta-research for product
innovation and solution of problems across spectrum of models – lateral synthesis.
A. High Level: Use methodologies for best research, cognition, and innovation
B. Application of inventive thinking methodologies
C. XML tags
A collaborative network of physical analysis, abstraction, cataloging, and breakthrough strategies. .