At the CAPE-OPEN 2019 Annual Meeting, Mark STIJNMAN contributed a presentation (access PDF here) that discusses what CAPE-OPEN 2.0 could be in order to address a number of changes identified in the computing landscape in general and in the process simulation landscape in particular.

Mark is a thermodynamic expert at Shell and, within CO-LaN, is mostly involved in the Thermo Special Interest Group activities while implementing CAPE-OPEN technology within Shell in-house software. At the CAPE-OPEN 2015 Annual Meeting, Mark already presented on CAPE-OPEN implementation at Shell.

Mark begins with pointing out that computing relies more and more on multi-core machines and on the cloud. Even if most process simulation software are still using a single thread for calculations, CAPE-OPEN should prepare for a change there. Also the future is in the cloud: how will one deals with plugging Process Modelling Components into a Process Modelling Environment when one or both are in the cloud?

Then Mark goes on stating that steady-state simulation is being displaced by dynamic simulation while the sequential modular approach is also being displaced by the equation-oriented approach. CAPE-OPEN is not completely absent of both, but both aspects have not been a major focus in the last 10 years.

Next Mark looks more specifically into the thermodynamic package and the unit operation package of the CAPE-OPEN standard, advocating changes in the overall design of both packages. One of the major changes would be to forget about the Material Object as being the place to retrieve and store data, making callsto a Property Package completely explicit. Mark also proposes to move a number of functionalites to the Manager concept, like removing compounds out of the list of compounds.

For Unit Operations, Mark proposes to standardize an equation-modeling language and asks for a way to support “classical” Unit Operations in an equation-oriented approach. This was also discussed after the presentation made earlier by BASF during the CAPE-OPEN 2019 Annual Meeting: it is not a new discussion, the same took place at the CAPE-OPEN 2008 Annual Meeting where a proposal of a new interface on Unit Operations was considered, in order to get from a Unit Operation derivatives of any output with respect to any input.

For handling plug-ins through the cloud, Mark considers that CAPE-OPEN standard could include a protocol where a CAPE-OPEN extension can be published to the cloud. Another solution could be to define a CAPE-OPEN standardized web API that mirrors the DLL-based API. Interestingly Mark is not the only one within the CAPE-OPEN community to push CO-LaN towards addressing the challenges introduced by the cloud. So definitely something to be considered, may be within the COBIA middleware.