My background is in geometric kernel engineering for CAD/CAE/PLM working for the best part of a decade on the Parasolid kernel at Siemens PLM. After that I moved onto the engineering project at Citrix to virtualise GPUs (vGPU) with our joint collaboration with NVIDIA using their GRID technologies. As such I’m one of a number of people hired at Citrix over the last few years from a graphical/CAD background rather than a traditional virtualisation / networking or VDI one. Now I am, somewhat accidently, a XenDesktop Product Manager specialising in graphics, HDX 3D Pro, printing compression and peripherals (all those lovely CAD friendly haptics).

In no particular order or preference:

1)      Numerical Recipes, The Art of Scientific Programming – William H Press et al

This classic is now available online.  If you really want to know how geometrical algorithms work and the costs of graphical algorithms this is a must. With code examples that allow you to work out the theoretical cost of operations O(n), the cost of compression algorithms such as FFT and numerical relaxations on geometry.

2)      Applied Geometry for Computer Graphics and CAD (Springer Undergraduate Mathematics Series) – Duncan Marsh

Focusing on the manipulation and representation of geometrical objects, this book explores the application of geometry to computer graphics and computer-aided design (CAD). With 300+ hands-on exercises (maths problems). Duncan is in fact a software engineer here in Cambridge, UK on the Dassault (Spatial) ACIS kernel which underpins many consumer CAD titles. Spatial ACIS engineers also run a brilliant blog, developer-2-developer, brimming with insight into CAD algorithms, code and ideas on CUDA and SMP usage.

3)      SIGGRAPH 2014 papers on the web by Ke-sen Huang

SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques) is the name of the annual conference on computer graphics (CG) convened by the ACM SIGGRAPH organization. If you can’t get there, Ke-sen’s summary is a brilliant index into the cutting edge algorithms everyone dealing with CAD / 3D software should be alert to.

4)      The NURBS book – Les A Piegl

Most serious CAD packages, and many graphical ones, model geometry using mathematical constructions known as NURBS (Non-uniform rational B-splines). This is a hard-core maths book and I wouldn’t even suggest attempting to tackle it as an introduction nor without some level of undergraduate maths. However if you really want to understand the loads CAD software makes on virtualised systems or GPU drivers , understanding the fundamental geometry is a must.

5)      The Timeless Racer: Machines of a Time Traveling Speed Junkie – Daniel Simon

If you want to understand what makes a CAD user or engineer tick, it’s this book. Daniel Simon is one of the most amazing guys I have ever met, at Develop3D Live 2014, I watched him individually illustrate every book someone bought (turning a 1 hour book signing into a 6 hour exercise).  Simon worked as a senior designer for Bugatti Automobiles. In 2007, his first book, Cosmic Motors, was published, opening the doors to Hollywood: he became vehicle concept designer on the feature film Tron: Legacy. CAD software isn’t just software for many users it’s art, it’s visual, it’s user experience and creative fantasy. This book explains that, and what us in VDI should aspire to for the CAD user.

6)      CUDA by Example: An Introduction to General-Purpose GPU Programming – Jason Sanders and Edward Kandrot

Written by two senior members of NVIDIA’s own CUDA software platform team this shows programmers how to employ this new technology through working examples. What I liked was that it covers algorithms that can benefit from CUDA as well as others that won’t an why. This makes it particularly useful for insight into what type of ISV applications are likely to start using GPU power increasingly.

7)      Image Processing and Data Analysis: The Multiscale Approach Paperback – Jean-Luc Starck, Fionn D. Murtagh, Albert Bijaoui

This is one of very few textbooks that give a reasonable overview of wavelet and multi-scalar image analysis and compression. Wavelets are kind of a super-set of Fourier analysis and are more like how human vision works, encompassing localised basis functions and breaking things down into multiple scales; large features and then smaller ones that all correlate.

Nikola Bozinovic founder and CEO of Mainframe2 is an ex-Astrophysicist with a background in wavelet compression of video, so a knowledge of wavelet theory should let you explore his academic publications.

8)      The History of Visual Magic in Computers: How Beautiful Images are Made in CAD, 3D, VR and AR – Jon Peddie

Jon Peddie* is veteran CAD/Graphics analyst, formally a president of SIGGRAPH. If he and his analyst team are watching it, it is usually worth watching. He’s written a number of seminal books and this most recent one, is a good read for someone coming from a virtualisation background rather than a graphics/CAD one as it fills in the history and direction of the technologies and how they and the organisations have evolved and fit together today. Jon himself recommended also reading another source of CAD history:David Weisberg’s (free) book (http://www.cadhistory.net/).

9)      Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering (3rd edition): A Comprehensive Guide – Riley, Hobson and Bence

This book was actually written by my PhD supervisor, so I’m somewhat biased as to how intuitive and comprehensive it is. Mike Hobson besides being a lecturer/Professor/PhD Supervisor was also one of the founders of Geomerics exploiting astronomical imaging algorithms to bring real time Radiosity to Battlefield 3 and the Playstation. Most Cambridge Undergraduates use this textbook and it covers the fundamental maths behind many image compression techniques. If you’ve ever had to explain Fourier artefacts in JPEG compression this one is useful. Many CAD search and PDM tools are based around Fourier like feature analysis and this should give you the background to read papers on indexing, analysing and searching CAD parts, such as this one.

10)   Mathematica®: A Problem-Centered Approach (Springer Undergraduate Mathematics Series) – Roozbeh Hazrat

For a lot of people understanding graphical algorithms, using a package such as Mathematica, Matlab or MAPLE is an insightful way to play with graphical algorithms. For whichever package I choose, I tend to get a primer to get started as there is a wealth (almost too much) of advanced material online and “code examples” online. If you can get your hands on a license for such a package I’d highly recommend it. There is a lot of CAD and 3D functionality in a package like Mathematica e.g. NURBS, and plenty of community code e.g. “Design a car body”, “Image Warping”, “2-D Cellular Automaton on a Triangulated Surface”

11)   The Art of Product Design: Changing How Things Get Made – Hardi Meybaum

Hardi Meybaum is the founder and CEO of GrabCad, the largest community of mechanical engineers and designers (A cloud based PDM platform for managing and sharing CAD with >1 million users). How does a kid from Estonia, with a bright idea virtually no Kroons ($$$) to his name and a good idea for CAD on Cloud, move to Silicon Valley and end up with the likes of Dassault and Siemens PLM knocking on his door? Break the traditional CAD delivery model and end up CEO of one of the hottest business models in CAD? High-level and accessible this book gives an insight into how CAD and end-users are changing and accepting Cloud.

12)   The STEP and IGES Specifications

CAD software is often translated from one data, geometry and topology format to another. These two open standards reveal the very way in which CAD parts are defined, exchanged and how the topology relates to the geometry. I often see people surprised that what looks like a simple cylinder is taking a very long time to render, when they have failed to notice the cylinder is in fact a degree n=19, Catia v4 B-Surface. I’m sorry these are probably not going to be the most exciting read of your life but I promise you’ll learn a lot if you can break through the pain barrier.

*On October 30th 2014, Citrix is sponsoring the first Jon Peddie “Virtualize” Conference; specifically aimed at those looking at the virtualisation of 3D Graphical, CAD/CAE and PLM/PDM workloads, for those looking to hear from experts in both fields this could be an excellent chance to discuss your new bookshelf and recent reading:

Virtualize: Ready or Not
Remote workstations? Accessing graphics resources remotely? 
Why would you use it?  How can you implement it?  What about latency?

The Virtualize Conference will answer your questions and provide  real world guidance for industry professionals who are looking for ways to achieve more efficiency in their organizations through virtualization technologies.

The conference will feature an opening tutorial, talks, and panel discussions from people who are making virtualization work in their organization

A working lunch will enable you to get direct information from vendors who are offering virtualization tools and products – the people who are putting these technologies to work and share experiences with your peers.

In the afternoon sessions Virtualize will look at the future, what’s coming in the fast changing world of virtualization and what do you need to know and do to be ready.

The Virtualize Conference will be beneficial for both principals who are setting the strategic direction for their organization as well as for early adopters responsible for implementation. View our talented panel, learn more about the conference and at: Virtualize Agenda and Registration

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