truenumbers Brings Context to Ad Hoc Numbers

DN Staff

August 5, 2009

3 Min Read
truenumbers Brings Context to Ad Hoc Numbers

Beyond3-D models and structured mathematical calculations, numbers are a universalmainstay of product development organizations tucked away in emails,spreadsheets and the heads of individual engineers. True Engineering Technology, a new companyfounded by Allen Razdow, the inventor of the Mathcadengineering and scientific calculation tool, has come up with a new technologydesigned to makes these ad hoc numbers more accessible to a wider audience.

Miningthe unstructured and community-based approach of Web 2.0 technology,truenumbers is new semantic technology that takes numbers from a staticexistence and turns them into a rich data type that can be embedded intodocuments and workflows. While Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and ProductData Management (PDM) systems have been widely adopted to create a home forstructured engineering data, the truenumbers technology makes it easy tocreate, format, classify and search ad hoc numbers throughout engineering andthe organization at large in any kind of document and by including richcontext, according to Razdow.

Razdow'sgoal was to find a way to better leverage numbers that fit within the socialcontext of how most engineers collaborate. "The average engineering workgrouphas anywhere from several dozen to several hundred numbers that are 'in theair,'" Razdow says. "We wanted to create a technology for numbers thatallows this ad hoc work style to continue, but still delivers control,traceability and provides enough productivity that engineers would want to useit."

Todo so, True Engineering released a set of tools for representing numbers as truenumbers,what it describes as machine-readable, URL-like data. truenumbers are live andconnected within the desktop applications where they reside and they add valueto numerical information by providing some nugget of context - for example,units, tolerance information, critical properties and sourcing information,among other data. Anyone can create truenumbers for use in HTML-enabledapplications like email and Microsoft applications using the free Create aNumber application, and registered users can access and store truenumbers inthe free, public numberspace repository. For engineering organizations lookingto complement their PLM technology with an internal numbers repository, TrueEngineering is offering client-based applications for creating and working withtruenumbers as well as a server-based numberspace repository.

Providinga "holder of framework" for passing along numbers embedded with their contextcould be a great time saver for engineers, who often have to take time out oftheir design work to verify or even recalculate numbers to ensure they areaccurate, according to Bruce Jenkins, CEO of Ora Research, a consultancy specializingin design and manufacturing engineering. "Engineering work, in essence,involves a transmission of numbers - the trouble has been with issues of trustand context," Jenkins says. "Any kind of engineering calculation donethrough the concept phase to detailed design involves handing off a number. Thestruggle has been to hand it off with enough context so the recipient knowswhat to do with it and has confidence that the number is good."

As a free service available over the Web, truenumbers lets users browse and search on numbers in a public space.

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