Sibley School and Ansys host first-ever PyAnsys CodeFest

By: Chris Dawson

Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering hosted the first-ever PyAnsys CodeFest in Upson Hall September 16 and 17. The event drew more than 70 student attendees and was a great success, with teams working through challenges on both a guided track and an exploratory track — depending on their familiarity with Python and Ansys products. At the end of the day on Saturday, 5 teams submitted results for judging.

 “It was great to see students work through guided challenges both individually and as teams to craft solutions to the presented problems,” said Susan Coleman, Director of Academic and Startup Programs at Ansys. “The academic ecosystem has been an important foundation of Ansys users for many years, and we anticipate that this will continue as we embark on building our developer ecosystem.”

Ansys table with t-shirts and students browsing

When Ansys was looking for a university where it could hold its inaugural PyAnsys CodeFest, it was only natural that they would choose Cornell. Ansys founder John Swanson ’62, M.Eng. ’63 is a Cornell alum, as well as Ansys CEO Ajei Gopal, who obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1982. Dr. Rajesh Bhaskaran, (the Swanson Director of Engineering Simulation in the Sibley School) uses Ansys simulation software in much of his teaching at Cornell.

"Ansys came to us because we already have this strategic relationship with them," said Bhaskaran. "Dr. Swanson is the one who endowed my position and I have worked with them and their software for more than 20 years now. They are #1 in the simulation space."

Ansys workshop with students at tables with computers

Bhaskaran was pleased with the event. He says it accomplished several goals: Ansys engineers and representatives were on hand to see how students of varying familiarities with Python and the suite of Ansys products would use this new group of Python packages, and students got to dive in and apply the new packages with Ansys experts on-hand to answer questions and give advice.

Coleman from Ansys was also pleased. "We are excited to have successfully hosted our first-ever PyAnsys CodeFest at Cornell. PyAnsys is a family of Python packages providing a new, unified and modern programmable interface to our proprietary simulation stack, and for the CodeFest, students focused on using Mechanical APDL and PyFluent." An informal survey of the student participants made clear that having access to Ansys at the CodeFest was incredibly valuable.

A secondary benefit of the event was the networking opportunity it gave the students and Ansys representatives. "People were able to make connections and Ansys even gave out a QR code students could use to check out available positions at the company," Bhaskaran said. Over the years many Cornell Engineering students have had internships and landed jobs with Ansys.

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