The History of Intelligent Light

For decades Intelligent Light has been at the forefront of CFD, visualization, high performance computing and data science.

At Intelligent Light, we’re not only passionate about what we do, we’re passionate about what our customers do. For more than 25 years, our deep, broad expertise, collaborative approach, and innovative spirit have enabled us to provide best-in-class, real-world solutions that increase efficiency, productivity, and knowledge and give every customer a truly competitive advantage.

Founded in 1984 Intelligent Light developed software for animation and rendering in the days before SGI workstations and graphics boards.  We funded our enterprise producing 3D animation for HBO, Nickelodeon and KitchenAid among others. We developed a product line called 3DV that delivered turnkey animation and rendering based on networked Apollo workstations.


Intelligent Light then shifted focus to solving the problem of engineering visualization, combining CAD geometry with the results of structural or fluid dynamics simulations.  Recognizing our unique skills in visualization and intuitive user experiences, PDA Engineering approached us in the late 1980’s to develop Patran3/Animation for visualization and animation of modal analysis and non-linear structural models.  This product was sold and supported by PDA and later MSC. 

We teamed with United Technologies Corporation to create an interactive, desktop visualization tool for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).  The result was FieldView™ which remains one of the world’s leading software tools for visualization and post-processing of CFD.  Launched into the marketplace in 1992, it grew to be the defacto standard code for organizations for whom CFD analysis is mission critical.  We established international sales and support channels and were embraced by enterprises across the aerospace to automotive, nuclear engineering and turbomachinery to food processing industries.  In time, companies selling CFD software such as FLUENT (now part of ANSYS) , Altair Engineering and Brian Spaulding’s US branch of CHAM, Adaptive Research entered into reseller agreements with Intelligent Light to bring the advanced capabilities of FieldView to their users.

By the mid-1990’s we participated in the ‘America’s Seed Fund’: Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program to build our future through advanced research and prototyping. From 1995 through 2010, we proposed, competed and won six Phase II SBIRs from NASA, the US Army and Air Force which funded our high-performance data handling and extract post-processing for FieldView, as well as our NIMBLE database.  As of 2020, these technologies were responsible for boosting FieldView revenues by tens of millions of dollars – a  powerful measure of SBIR investment success.



As HPC computing power grew exponentially over the last decade, our team recognized that the standard model of producing large files from simulation, managing and then reading them would quickly become impractical.  Through Department of Energy (DOE) SBIR grants, Intelligent Light commercialized the VisIt code, which was created under the ASCI program as the highly scalable post-processing and visualization code for the world’s biggest simulations.  Intelligent Light combined the power of VisIt with the ease of use of FieldView to create HPC FieldView and VisIt Prime™.  Our engineering team has focused on  instrumenting solver codes for in situ and in transit post-processing.  These combined software and consulting solutions are currently available and supported on a subscription basis to users of the largest HPC systems such as the US DoD HPCMO CREATE program, Japan’s JAXA and RIKEN AICS and DLR/Rolls-Royce Germany.  The cumulative result of our advancements has delivered deeper insights, improved product safety and streamlined workflows. In short made our client’s product development: Smarter, Safer, Sooner.

With the emergence of HPC peta/exa scale driving the increasing need of high-end of simulation computing, we realized that  new opportunities demanded an different and innovative approach that was somewhat incompatible with the closed, commercial license model of FieldView.  In October 2019, Intelligent Light decided to spin-off FieldView into an entity focused on the package software business (FieldView CFD, Inc.), thereby re-energizing the FieldView product team, while sharpening the focus of Intelligent Light on subscription-based HPC products and providing capital to invest in building our new business focusing on developing advanced and transformative engineering solutions..

We have worked closely with customers to launching SpectreUQ™, an engineering system for CFD Uncertainty Quantification.  Our Snapshot software for Validation/Verification is in use today and we are incorporating Data Science and Machine Learning into our tools.  Most recently, we initiated pilot rollouts of SCOREBOARD (also supported by DOE SBIRs), readying the next-generation of in situ/in transit tools. 

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