News Column

Patent Issued for Compression and Storage of Computer Aided Design Data

July 3, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- A patent by the inventor Carter, Michael B. (Ames, IA), filed on December 19, 2012, was published online on June 17, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8756255 is assigned to Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. (Plano, TX).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Some data processing applications, such as computer-aided design (CAD) and similar graphics programs, generate large volumes of data. CAD programs, in particular, produce such cumbersome data files that at least a portion of the data is preferably translated into a 'lightweight' format for viewing, markup, mockup, styling and analysis operations. For instance, the DirectModel family of CAD applications available from Electronic Data Systems Corporation of Plano, Texas employs 'JT' files (for the former 'Jupiter Toolkit' name, using the '.jt' file extension) that contain several types of data critical for digital mockup operations, including: three dimensional (3D) geometric representations of CAD parts and assemblages thereof, used for high-speed interactive visualization, picking, approximate measurement, and approximate collision and clash detection; precise boundary representation (Brep) of each CAD part, used for precise measurement and precise collision and clash detection; product manufacturing information (PMI) exported from the original CAD source; and additional textual meta-data exported from the original CAD source.

"Enterprises employing such translated lightweight CAD files typically have significant economic resources invested in the processes of producing, coordinating and warehousing the data, along with the substantial physical resources employed to actually store the data. The demands for storage space increase as, for instance, the automobile and aerospace industries produce more lightweight data and construct ever-larger and/or higher-fidelity assemblies. Therefore making the lightweight files as small as possible, by any practical means available, is of primary concern.

"At the same time, however, demands for visualization performance (i.e., image data retrieval and rendering) are increasing. Streaming, in this context, refers to the ability to continuously load 3D geometric model data without forcing the user to wait. The user can meaningfully interact with a model while the data is being loaded, and without suffering any perceivable performance degradation. Reducing the size of lightweight data files should retain the option of retrieving the contents a piece at a time.

"Subject to that constraint, every link in the application chain leading to efficient large-model analysis and visualization wins when the lightweight files become smaller: files become smaller (and fewer disk drives or similar storage media need be purchased), disk access time decreases, network utilization is decreased, and the perceived level of application performance is increased due to quicker loading of model data.

"There is, therefore, a need in the art for a system, process and data format providing more compact lightweight CAD data files without substantial degradation of visualization performance."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "To address the above-discussed deficiencies of the prior art, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide, for use in connection with a computer aided design application, a lightweight JT data file format for computer aided design data having a total size reduced by employing lossy compression where acceptable for portions of the CAD data, such as 3D geometry data. Dictionary-based lossless compression for the remaining portions is augmented by exploiting common repeated structures for some portions, such as precise Brep data, and compressing separate but similar data, such as all metadata for a given part and all scene graph data, together as a single block. The compressed data is then written in separate, uniquely identified data segments indexed in a table of contents, allowing quick access to any data segment for streaming.

"The foregoing has outlined rather broadly the features and technical advantages of the present invention so that those skilled in the art may better understand the detailed description of the invention that follows. Additional features and advantages of the invention will be described hereinafter that form the subject of the claims of the invention. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that they may readily use the conception and the specific embodiment disclosed as a basis for modifying or designing other structures for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention. Those skilled in the art will also realize that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention in its broadest form.

"Before undertaking the DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE below, it may be advantageous to set forth definitions of certain words or phrases used throughout this patent document: the terms 'include' and 'comprise,' as well as derivatives thereof, mean inclusion without limitation; the term 'or' is inclusive, meaning and/or; the phrases 'associated with' and 'associated therewith,' as well as derivatives thereof, may mean to include, be included within, interconnect with, contain, be contained within, connect to or with, couple to or with, be communicable with, cooperate with, interleave, juxtapose, be proximate to, be bound to or with, have, have a property of, or the like; and the term 'controller' means any device, system or part thereof that controls at least one operation, whether such a device is implemented in hardware, firmware, software or some combination of at least two of the same. It should be noted that the functionality associated with any particular controller may be centralized or distributed, whether locally or remotely. Definitions for certain words and phrases are provided throughout this patent document, and those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that such definitions apply in many, if not most, instances to prior as well as future uses of such defined words and phrases."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Carter, Michael B.. Compression and Storage of Computer Aided Design Data. U.S. Patent Number 8756255, filed December 19, 2012, and published online on June 17, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc..

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Source: Computer Weekly News

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