A previous issueo f the IBM Journal of Research and Development (May 1987) addressed the topic of computer-aided design (CAD) of products. The present issue is a logical successor, exploring modeling techniques implemented in software for the representation and analysis of products and their manufacturing processes. These techniques, which have come to be known as virtual prototyping, have as basic goals meeting competitive needs in reducing product cycle time and increasing product quality. This is to be done in an environment where product and process complexity is increasing rapidly. The virtual prototyping approach is based on developing fundamental understanding of a product and its manufacturing processes, validating this understanding through physical experiment, and implementing it in software models. The goals of virtual prototyping are met through exhaustive analysis of products and processes as part of the product and manufacturing engineering design process, thereby reducing both the need for physical experiment and the chance of problems arising later. In manufacturing, virtual prototyping can play important roles—for example, in yield learning (improving the production yield of the manufacturing process) from initial low-volume production to full-scale output/
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