Anyone investing in OpenFOAM Training must want training that delivers the best return on their investment (which includes the cost associated with lost production and expenses of the staff attending the training).  It can be difficult to choose the best OpenFOAM Training from the variety of disparate training offerings in a market that is particularly open due to the open source nature of the software.  Questions should be asked of potential training providers to establish their credibility and experience in OpenFOAM and in CFD training. Here we present 10 questions that might usefully be asked, with CFD Direct’s answers to the questions.

1) How is the OpenFOAM Training provider involved in OpenFOAM?

CFD Direct is the primary developer of OpenFOAM.  It includes: Henry Weller, creator and architect of OpenFOAM, Director of the OpenFOAM Foundation; Chris Greenshields, co-founder of OpenFOAM, author of the OpenFOAM User Guide and openfoam.org website, Director of the OpenFOAM Foundation; Jenya Collings, operations manager for OpenFOAM.  Henry is the leading contributor to OpenFOAM, e.g. see the OpenFOAM Development Repository.  CFD Direct’s management and development role in the OpenFOAM project is evident from the OpenFOAM Foundation Website, the OpenFOAM Foundation Twitter feed, etc.

2) How is the OpenFOAM Training instructor involved in OpenFOAM?

OpenFOAM instructor Chris Greenshields manages the OpenFOAM project, packaging and releasing the product, writing the openfoam.org website and free OpenFOAM documentation, and working on licensing and other legal aspects.  He contributes to the OpenFOAM Development Repository from time to time, particularly with changes and additions to make OpenFOAM easier to use, including: template cases; packaged tools; useful scripts, e.g. for live plotting of time-value data and creating videos; code feature changes to reduce the number of steps required for a given task; and, new example cases e.g. windAroundBuildings.

3) What experience does the provider have in delivering OpenFOAM Training?

Chris started OpenFOAM Training in 2008 with Jenya, a training manager in high performance computing (at that time).  Over the next 6 years they delivered ~500 days of OpenFOAM Training worldwide to ~2,500 participants.  Chris was the instructor on ~300 days of that training, delivering public scheduled courses and on-site training at the world’s largest companies in the automotive, chemical, marine, aerospace, energy and insurance sectors, and leading academic institutions.  Together they are an OpenFOAM Training team with unrivalled experience.

4) What expertise does the instructor have in OpenFOAM?

Chris has been part of the OpenFOAM project since 1996 and has been involved in every aspect of the project during that time.  From the initial release of OpenFOAM in 2004, he has been involved in the release of every version of OpenFOAM to the present day.  His knowledge covers an extensive range of applications and OpenFOAM functionality.

5) What experience does the provider have in engineering CFD?

The team at CFD Direct have provided OpenFOAM development and CFD support and consultancy to industry, academia and government organisations for the past 15 years, including the world’s biggest companies in the automotive, chemical, marine, aerospace, energy and insurance sectors, and some of the top academic institutions.

6) What is the aim of the OpenFOAM Training?

Our Essential, Applied and Programming CFD courses have been specifically created to enable competence in CFD.  By competence, we mean the confidence to carry out a task to a defined standard, repeatedly, so that after completing training, the trainee should be able to: deliver a good solution with CFD, rather than freeze at the keyboard (confidence); deliver the next good solution, and another, … (repeatedly); understand what a good solution looks like and deliver solutions in a timely manner (required standard).

7) What is the Training Course Curriculum?

The Essential CFD, Applied CFD and Programming CFD courses on OpenFOAM consist of a set of modules that form the curriculum.  We address the challenges of CFD analysis by creating modules that build competence across the core components of CFD: fluid dynamics and physical modelling; geometry and meshing; numerical methods; data analysis; and, computing and programming. The training is flexible, but we don’t mistake flexibility for training without structure that misses key competencies.

8) Which version of OpenFOAM does the Training cover?

The latest release of OpenFOAM.  The course material is updated with the latest code base of OpenFOAM so that participants can benefit from new features in the software.  As mentioned earlier, many new features are introduced specifically to make OpenFOAM easier to use, as part of the creation and reviews of our training courses.  Changes and additions include: template cases, that provide a convenient way to set up and start a new simulation; packaged tools, particularly for post-processing, that can be plugged into a case as required; scripts for live plotting of time-value data such as residuals, creating videos and sequencing VTK images for animation; code feature changes to reduce the number of steps required for a given task.

9) Does the Training cover only free, open source software?

Yes.  We only promote free, publicly distributed, open source software as part of our mission to make CFD accessible and inclusive.  We want to help our customers build CFD capability around software that they can obtain for free forever, that allows unlimited customization and is continually subjected to public scrutiny, promoting quality and reliability.  We believe in software that allows access to the implementation of scientific knowledge, which we can share with training participants, rather than teaching buttons to press on a black box.

10) What facilities are provided at the Training courses?

Our public scheduled OpenFOAM Training courses are hosted at dedicated computer learning centres that provide good quality, desktop PCs in a spacious air-conditioned environment.  The PCs are booted from a USB flash drive running Ubuntu Linux pre-installed with the latest release of OpenFOAM, which the participant keeps, allowing them to access their course work after the training is completed.   A bound 100-page manual, packed with annotated diagrams to aid understanding, is provided for each 2-day course.

Those questions again, to send to a Training provider

  1. How is your organisation involved in OpenFOAM?
  2. How is your training instructor involved in OpenFOAM?
  3. What experience does your organisation have in delivering Training?
  4. What expertise does your instructor have in OpenFOAM?
  5. What experience does your organisation have in engineering CFD?
  6. What is the aim of your OpenFOAM Training?
  7. What is the Training Course Curriculum?
  8. Which version of OpenFOAM does the Training cover?
  9. Does the Training cover only free, open source software?
  10. What facilities are provided at the Training courses?

Our answers summarised, for comparison

  1. Primary developers and architects of OpenFOAM, including the creator of OpenFOAM.
  2. Manages OpenFOAM, author of  openfoam.org website, free documentation, etc.
  3. Since 2008, 500 days training, 2,500 attendees.
  4. 20 years OpenFOAM experience, involved in the release of every version.
  5. Provided OpenFOAM development and support to leading engineering companies for 15 years.
  6. To enable competency in CFD with OpenFOAM.
  7. Essential CFD, Applied CFD and Programming CFD modular courses, to address the challenges of CFD.
  8. The latest release of OpenFOAM, with features introduced for our Training courses.
  9. Yes, we only promote free, publicly distributed, open source software.
  10. Public courses are hosted at dedicated centres; manuals and bootable USB flash drive are provided.
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